Any club’s character is tested when things aren’t going well.
For the Philadelphia Union, the month of August was a struggle with an 0-3-2 mark following a difficult 2-1 loss to the Columbus Crew on Wednesday night at PPL Park.
Despite controlling possession for much of the match and playing a man up for the final 20 minutes, the Union came away with a gut-wrenching 2-1 defeat when Eddie Gaven scored in the waning seconds of stoppage time.
The Union (7-13-4) are clearly disappointed, but they’re never going to concede anything.
“I can promise you we’re not going to sit here and mope about tonight,” midfielder Danny Cruz told philadelphiaunion.com. “I feel awful for the fans. I feel awful for the coach. I feel like we say the same thing every week. We played well tonight. We really did. We gave up a goal late. We didn’t deserve to lose that game.
“It’s hard to come back and not think about it. I always re-watch games. I think we had chances. It’s tough. I just feel awful for everyone. We did everything well and didn’t come away with points.”
The Union came away with points in their last two matches – a 1-1 draw at D.C. United and a scoreless draw against Real Salt Lake. A victory, or at least a third consecutive draw, seemed realistic until Gaven’s goal changed the outcome.
This is when a club’s character is tested.
“I think every guy in here is gutted right now,” forward Antoine Hoppenot told philadelphiaunion.com. “I’ll take the night, come in tomorrow at 9 a.m. and prepare for New England with everyone else. It’s not easy and a tough loss. I really thought we had three points, but it didn’t turn out that way.
“Over the course of a year, you have bad games. By tomorrow, we’ll have our heads ready. We want to go out there and put another performance on the field to forget this one. We played pretty well and didn’t deserve to lose.”
Rookie Ray Gaddis believes in the club’s character, and he expects everyone to come back ready to scrap for everything in training and in the remaining games.
“This group of guys are going to play hard,” Gaddis said. “I know in this locker room, we believe in what we’re doing. I think we’re all a little frustrated, but no one is giving up. This group is going to fight and claw for every loose ball and try to win as many games as possible.”
Interim manager John Hackworth will continue to work with his young group of players. That you can expect.
He said it’s simply a matter of executing.
“I’m happy with the way we’re playing,” Hackworth said. “I’m happy with the kind of soccer we’re playing. We're obviously not executing in front of both boxes and that’s our Achilles heel right now.”