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April 23, 2017

'It hurt' – Union 'gutted' after blowing three-goal lead to extend 15-game winless streak

Soccer MLS

The last time the Philadelphia Union won a game, Barack Obama was still in office, Fidel Castro was still alive, and Sam Bradford was the Eagles' starting quarterback. 

That slump started 238 days ago and remains active after the Union blew a three-goal home lead on Saturday afternoon, settling for a 3-3 draw with the Montreal Impact.

Jim Curtin's team is last place in the Eastern Conference and combined MLS table with three points out of seven games.

"A good first half from the group; I think we outcompeted them and won all the individual battles all over the field, each guy," the Union's head coach said post-game. "You can talk about formations, tactics, different things, but in the first half we won all of our individual battles, which was good. Second half, it changed. They came at us a bit, we had an opportunity to get the goal to make it 4-2, didn’t convert it, and Montreal made us pay on the day. It's obviously disappointing. There’s not a group of guys that deserves a win right now with the amount that they work and amount that they put in each and every day. Very gutted for them not to get the first win of the year." 

The Union finished a three-game home stand with two losses and one draw, earning just one point out of nine.

Visitors scored eight goals in those games while Philadelphia mustered only four. 

In this game, the killer was a Montreal strike just before halftime, one that cut the Union lead from three goals to two.

Nacho Piatti's mazy run wasn't dealt with properly and the Impact found a bit of belief going into the break.

"It hurt," Curtin said of the goal. "To go in 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."

"You’re still up 3-1," said captain Alejandro Bedoya. "Very disappointed we let up a soft goal with Piatti coming inside. I probably should have fouled him first. Chris could have fouled him. We didn’t step up in time. In the locker room, during the first couple of minutes, we said we should not have conceded that. But at the end of the day, we came out of the locker room still confident. We said the next goal is very important, we wish we could have scored that and killed the game off."

Substitute Anthony Jackson-Hamel scored two second-half goals to complete the comeback. 

For what it's worth, the Union did snap a four-game losing streak, earning their first point since the 2-2 draw with Toronto FC on March 11th. 

C.J. Sapong got back on the score sheet after a two-week absence and Roland Alberg nabbed a first-half brace, opening the scoring from the run of play before converting a 39th minute penalty that was earned by rookie center half Jack Elliott. 

The Union will try to snap the 15-game winless streak when they hit the road to face the LA Galaxy next week. 

"We’ve been talking about getting a response, every week," Bedoya said. "Training’s been great, the intensity’s been there, the energy. Compete every single game. Win your one-on-ones. Let’s keep going. Regardless of the outside noise, we know we’ve got a good group in here. I said it last week, I hope we get a win. I said in the huddle to the guys, ‘I don’t care how you win. This is a win we need to be able to scrap out.’ It just wasn’t there but I’m proud of this team still. I have 100 percent belief in these guys and everyone and Jim. I feel bad for him. It sucks. We deserve better. And we know we’re better than this."


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