By Siobhan Nolan, Contributing Writer
The Union allowed 17 shots, eight corner kicks, and several free kicks from dangerous spots against DC United, but still managed to walk away with a 1-0 win. It wasn’t a pretty victory, but these three points were enough to put the Union to third place in the Eastern Conference. Let’s recap.
To put it quite frankly, the Union got lucky with their goal. United had the majority of possession and had a more threatening attack, and the only reason the Union were able to keep a clean sheet was because of (what else?) the heroics of Andre Blake, along with an excellent defensive display by Jakob Glesnes.
Despite what the numbers say, it was Kacper Przybylko that struck first to put the Union ahead. The goal was initially disallowed, but after after being reviewed with VAR, Przybylko’s goal was counted. He managed to beat the offside line and turn a perfectly weighted ball from Jamiro Monteiro into the back of the net. A lucky break, no doubt, but it was enough to see the Boys In Blue through to victory.
This game also saw the debut of recent signing and Hungarian international Daniel Gazdag, who put in a 23-minute shift, although he wasn’t able to make much of an impact on the game.
Jim Curtin acknowledged that the Union were aware of United’s tactics going into the game, and did prepare themselves for the work-in-progress D.C. squad currently operating under new coaching.
“These guys have a belief that they’re not going to concede goals, and we have enough dynamic attackers that they’re going to make a couple of plays during a game. And the goal that we scored is a really good goal,” Curtin said in his post-game press conference. “But more importantly now, the mentality to stick together, to understand what the game needs, to understand that D.C. is going to push, they’re going to throw numbers forward, they’re going to change formations and take risks, but we bent and we didn’t break.”
Curtin also acknowledged that this performance certainly wasn’t their best, but the points are what matters the most.
“Overall, a big three points. No one will remember how ugly it was. It’ll just be three points in May.”
Man of the Match: Once again, the defense contributed to the win more than the offense did. Glesnes put in an impressive shift, and helped the defense keep a clean sheet in a game where it was desperately needed with such a narrow lead.
The Main Takeaway: The points are obviously important, but the Union need to start thinking about their individual performances. The mentality needs to be less about skating by on lucky goals and performances were just good enough to pull out a tie or a win, and more about putting in the work to showcase the outstanding ability and cohesion of this Union team. They’ve proven themselves capable of being unstoppable, but the consistency still isn’t where it needs to be/