CHESTER, Pa. -- Coming home after playing three of their first four games on the road was supposed to be performance therapy for the winless Union. Instead, it was more of the same.
Richie Marquez gave the hosts hope but the Portland Timbers countered with three unanswered goals to take down the befuddled Union, 3-1, Saturday night at Talen Energy Stadium.
"It's a tough time right now," Union manager Jim Curtin said. "We have to find a way to fight and stick together and turn things around. It takes one win to get back on track. We have quality in our group. There is belief in our group and it's just a tough time right now, we have to turn it around."
It was the Union's third-consecutive defeat, keeping them at the bottom of the Eastern Conference. The Union are also now winless in their last 13 games dating back to Aug. 27, 2016, when they defeated Sporting Kansas City. Jim Curtin's club moves to 0-3-2 on the season, while the Timbers move to an impressive 4-1-1.
"I'm not scared of it because I still believe in the team," Curtin said when asked about his job security. "I believe in the group. You can put it on me, that's fine. I take the blame. It's our job to stick together as a team, continue to work hard and bounce back from this. The only way you get out of it is to win a game."
The situation was optimistic for the Union early in the first half. Earning a corner in the 26th minute, Haris Medunjanin's line drive cleared a mass of bodies before finding the head of Marquez for the 1-0 Union advantage.
Marquez, who suffered a concussion last weekend against D.C. United, was questionable for the match. It was his first goal of the season.
"It was a credit to Haris' ball," Marquez said. "It was a great ball into the box and I was just able to get there and head it in."
However, that optimism was short-lived. Darlington Nagbe tied the game at one less than 10 minutes later when he moved through multiple defenders before surprising Andre Blake with a savable outside-the-box shot that trickled inside the left post.
"Sometimes, bounces don't go your way," Union right back Keegan Rosenberry said. "They're one of the highest scoring teams in the league, they got a lot of good attacking pieces. We knew that going into it was gonna be a tough challenge to prevent them from scoring."
Owning momentum, the Timbers claimed the lead midway through the second half when a Diego Valeri free kick curled into the box and off the head of Roy Miller for the 2-1 advantage. Fanendo Adi scored a penalty kick in the waning minutes, silencing the already paltry Union home crowd to make it a 3-1 final.
"We have to stick together through the tough times," Curtin said. "Keeping shutouts at home is something we take up pride in and we came up small tonight in that regard. We're not giving up a ton of shots on goal, but we are giving up big chances and we are giving up goals and it’s a problem."