Starting the season at 1-5-5 (eight points) isn’t exactly what the Philadelphia Union had in mind.
All they can do now is stick together, go back to training and prepare for the next match Wednesday night at Sporting Kansas City.
It’s a difficult task but those are the circumstances.
This is when a club’s character is going to be tested. And the Union have a collective strong belief.
“Individually, this is when your character needs to come out with extra effort and your level needs to be there but you also need to support your teammates in any way or any fashion for the betterment of the team,” midfielder and captain Brian Carroll said after a 1-0 loss to D.C. United Saturday at PPL Park. “Whatever event needs to occur for us to get a win and get back on the right track, we need to find it.”
The Union have dropped three straight matches and haven’t won since March 15 when they shut out the New England Revolution, 1-0.
They’ve played well for stretches, like they did against D.C. United, but eventually came up a bit short.
“Right now, we have to gather ourselves, move on and think about the next game at Kansas City,” said Sebastien Le Toux. “It’s not easy to do, but when things don’t go well, we have to put ourselves in a good position and come back ready to play well on the road. We have to stop thinking about what happened and start thinking about what can happen. As players we have to do that and make sure we do that as a group.”
As a group, the Union believe.
The next step is putting together a complete 90-minute effort on the field and finding a way, any way, to come up with a victory and three points.
“Sometimes, you’ve just got to grind out results,” said midfielder Maurice Edu. “Sometimes, maybe a 1-0 win is all it takes. We have to try and turn the tide and get back on the right foot. I’ve still got confidence in this group. I’ve got confidence in this staff here. They believe in us. We’ve just got to keep taking it one game at a time. We have to keep working hard as a group and keep believing in the things we’re trying to do. We have to believe we can accomplish it and all it takes is one game to turn it around.”
They’ll have that chance in four days against a strong Sporting Kansas City (8:30 p.m., Comcast SportsNet) side.
“It’s good (to have another match soon) but we still have to work a lot,” Le Toux said. “It’s up to us to play a very good game against a very good team in Kansas City and we’re away. No time to rest and we need to go there, play well and get a result. That’s our goal and what we need to do.”
Their character will clearly be tested in playing a tough club in a difficult environment while trying to snap a three-match losing streak.
“It is (being tested) because it’s easy to put your head down and give in,” Edu said. “We need to just continue to stay strong as a group and keep our heads high, keep believing in what we’re doing. We believe in ourselves.”
How do the Union get out of this tough phase? Leave a comment below.
Contact Union writer Andy Jasner at firstname.lastname@example.org