CHESTER, Pa. -- Consider it a wake-up call.
“That’s how it happens,” said Union defender Auston Trusty, following Saturday’s 4-1 loss to the Montreal Impact at Talen Energy Stadium. “You go on a streak and get a wake-up call. Usually, those teams get smacked. We’ll build off this game and react to it in a positive way.”
After a five-game unbeaten run, the Union were dismantled at home by Ignacio Piatti and the Impact. But it’s not the loss, but how the team reacts to it, that could play a pivotal role in the club’s playoff future.
“It was a bad night all around,” said Union manager Jim Curtin. “We made some big mistakes, they punished us for them. We have no time to sit and feel sorry for ourselves.”
Currently fifth in the Eastern Conference at 12-12-4, the Union are now one point ahead of the Impact, who are holding onto sixth. D.C. United, New England Revolution and hard-charging Toronto FC are all vying for position but presently on the outside looking in.
“Every result matters in a big way,” said Curtin, with six matches left in the season. “You see how tight the table is in the Eastern Conference, you see how quickly things can change, how quickly a big road win can go for a team. It doesn’t feel good right now. We need to find a way to get it back quickly because every point matters at this stage.”
Saturday’s match was the weak spot in a brutal run for the Union. Kicking off with the 12-14-3 Impact at home, the Union travel to Seattle to face the 12-9-5 Sounders on Wednesday before returning home to host Western Conference powerhouse Sporting Kansas City (14-7-6) on Sunday. If that’s not bad enough, the club then travels to Texas to face the Houston Dynamo in the U.S. Open Cup Championship game.
“We have a quick turnaround to now go on the road against Seattle, which is a challenge,” Curtin said. “The guys are disappointed. We lost an opportunity to distance ourselves but we knew this thing was not going to be easy. The group is strong still and the group is together. We need to fix some things, quickly.”
If they don’t, the Union could stumble out of the playoff driver’s seat and into the fire.
“We have six games left,” Curtin said. “Three at home, three away, with the season on the line.”