CHESTER, Pa. -- Under normal circumstances, ending a four-game losing streak with a draw would be a welcome sight for the struggling Union.
But after giving up three consecutive goals to draw the Montreal Impact, 3-3, Saturday afternoon at Talen Energy Stadium, Jim Curtin's club won't be celebrating this one.
"Pure frustration," Union captain Alejandro Bedoya said. "I'm at a loss for words. To be up 3-0 at home and lose, I mean, it feels like a loss, it's hard to stomach. This team deserves a lot better. The fans deserve a lot better."
Through the first 40 minutes, the winless Union (0-4-3) were on track to an easy victory.
Pressing the Impact back line, C.J. Sapong, in the fifth minute, pounced on a turnover just outside the Impact box and while being hauled down, slid a pass to a trailing Roland Alberg, who beat his man and played a shot gently past Evan Bush for the easy goal and 1-0 Union lead.
"Haris played the ball in and it went over my head, so I tried to get closer to the goal," Sapong said. "Pontius put it back across, and pretty easy finish for me."
With momentum, the Union doubled and triple their lead in the 23rd and 38th minute. First, a perfectly placed ball by Haris Medunjanin was headed back across the box by Chris Pontius to Sapong, who made no mistake with his fourth of the season. That goal was followed by an in-box foul on rookie defender Jack Elliott, which gave Alberg a penalty kick and his second of the game.
"We talked about intensity, we talked about out-competing and winning our one-on-one battles," Bedoya said. "We were able to do that."
Taking the shot, Alberg banked it off Bush and in for the 3-0 Union advantage. It was exactly what the winless Union needed. But then the situation drastically.
Ignacio Piatti began the 1-2-4 Impact's climb back in the 41st minute, making it 3-1 when he fired through the Union's backline before finding a gap and taking a shot that beat Andre Blake to the right side.
"It hurt," Curtin said about the goal. "To go into half 3-0 is better than the scenario where they get a little life and momentum on their side. It's disappointing. Piatti is a special player. We had a lot of things we could have done better on that goal, but at the same time, to score three goals in a half should be good enough to finish off and get three points."
The situation became direr in the 69th minute, as Anthony Jackson-Hamel smoothly placed a perfect header past Blake off a cross from Ambroise Oyongo. The Impact then tied the game in the 87th with another from Jackson-Hamel.
"When I came to this club, we were all ambitious and this is not the start we wanted," Bedoya said. "I wear my emotions on my sleeve and I thought today I worked my butt off and so did all the guys. And to give up three soft goals, what I think were soft goals, it sucks. It's disappointing. Frustrating."
The Union, with a slightly defensive lineup featuring Ray Gaddis for Keegan Rosenberry, haven't won a game since Aug. 27, 2016 and had no answer for the Impact.
"I thought we had some breaks in the first half, played well and scored some goals," Curtin said. "We could have scored more. That killer instinct to finish off the game is something we talk about, something we work on. We came up short."