WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Union are obviously in the middle of a rough patch with a six-game winless streak (0-3-3) dating to July 17 when they defeated Toronto FC, 2-1, at PPL Park.
There’s no time to get down or dwell on what has happened.
In Major League Soccer, every game is difficult. Nothing is handed over. Victories must be earned.
That was the basic message from Union Team Manager Peter Nowak to his players after a frustrating 2-0 loss to D.C. United Sunday afternoon at RFK Stadium.
Next up is a match Saturday at New England.
Over the next six days, the Union will go back to the drawing board trying to come up with three points. In the meantime, they’ll work like crazy to correct the mistakes that have hurt them during this inaugural season.
“It was the worst performance I ever saw in the first eight months of being with this team,” Nowak said. “I think we have to be real. It’s not going to fly. We’ll go back to work and fix it."
Forward Alejandro Moreno tweaked his hamstring and was replaced by Justin Mapp in the 16th minute.
Watching from the sideline was difficult for Moreno.
“My hamstring tightened up and then got rolled up over,” Moreno said. “I’m going to work on it. Hopefully, I’ll be good for Saturday. As a club, we just didn’t play well. We have to work through it and do the things that were working for us earlier this season. We have to keep fighting, pick up the pieces and go back to work.”
Is it more mental or physical?
“I would say it’s both,” said Mapp. “I’ve been through stretches like this before in the league and it’s not easy. We believe in everyone here in this locker room that we’re going to come out of it. We’re going to keep fighting hard and go right back to work tomorrow in preparation for New England. We need a ‘W.’ You get one and try to build on that.”
The building blocks were set in place from the beginning. And the Union knew there would be bumps along the way.
It’s how you handle those bumps that can separate you from other young clubs.
“I thought this one was a low point,” said defender Danny Califf. “We’re confident. I’ll never lose confidence. We have a lot of character here and we have responded and bounced back after tough losses.
“Team-wise, I’m confident we’ll get right back to work to correct our mistakes and try to get better every game.”
The Union are filled with strong leaders like Califf, Moreno and Sebastien Le Toux.
Having that type of character certainly helps.
“We’re all disappointed in here,” Le Toux said. “Nobody expected this today. I didn’t expect it. I think we’re disappointed that we didn’t play better. This is when you have to band together and stay focused and concentrated on what’s going on. I think we’ll have a much better showing against the Revolution. There is a lot of pride in here.”