I'm sure that Union fans would like nothing more than to forget Saturday's 3-3 draw with the Montreal Impact, in which the Union blew a 3-0 lead to remain winless this season. Indeed, the fan base would probably like to forget the entire season thus far, and instead dream of getting a better striker during the summer transfer window.
But just in case you're looking for a reason to be optimistic, this might help.
Twice in the late stages of the game, Alejandro Bedoya singlehandedly stepped up to shut down dangerous Impact attacks launched by playmaking star Ignacio Piatti and rookie phenom Ballou Jean-Yves Tabla.
Alejandro Bedoya vs. Ignacio Piatti pic.twitter.com/mCMBApBAIB
— Jonathan Tannenwald (@thegoalkeeper) April 24, 2017
Alejandro Bedoya vs. Ballou Jean-Yves Tabla pic.twitter.com/SRidQzvU8i
— Jonathan Tannenwald (@thegoalkeeper) April 24, 2017
After the game, I asked Bedoya if he was trying to set a tone for his teammates about the effort required to close out a win.
"That's what I try to do out there, you know?" he said. "I wouldn't say I'm the most vocal guy out there - maybe I yell some obscenities on the field, but that's part of the game... Yeah, you try to set the tone. As a leader, you try to get in there."
Bedoya couldn't finish the chances that C.J. Sapong and Fafa Picault didn't. He couldn't step up when Jack Elliott didn't on the tying goal, and he couldn't make the stop that Andre Blake didn't on the same play.
But at least from where I sat, I thought Bedoya really stepped up on Saturday. And if his emotions on the field weren't enough, his remarks in a postgame press conference included a series of fiery remarks.
There were a lot of words, but as you saw above, they were preceded by deeds that gave him the right to hold forth. Here's a transcript of what Bedoya had to say:
Pure frustration. I mean, I'm at a loss for words. To be up 3-0 at home, I mean, it feels like a loss, obviously. I don't know, it's hard to stomach. This team deserves a lot better, the fans deserve a lot better.
When I came to this club, we were all ambitious. It's not the start that we wanted. I wear my emotions on my sleeve, and I thought I worked my butt off, and so did all the guys, and to give up three soft goals - what I think were soft goals - it sums up, kind of, the start of the season. It sucks. Disappointing, frustrating. But tomorrow is a new day, and we've got to keep working hard.
You probably heard some curse words. We're all men out there - when you step over those white lines, you go to battle, right? That's what I expected from all our guys, and I thought the first half, I mean, we were up 3-0.
We talked about pressing, and we talked about intensity, we talked about out-competing, winning our one-on-one duels, and we were able to do that. But to give up three goals to Montreal after being up 3-0 - oof, it's tough. Like I said, it's frustrating.
At halftime, we said, "What's our game plan now?' Up 3-1, we were controlling the game, and we said, "Let's start the first 15 minutes with pressure." But I felt like we weren't getting through there. So after 10 minutes, I called everybody and [said], "Let's not go and press them, let's get C.J. Sapong at the [center] circle and stay compact, like we were doing after we scored our first two goals."
But you keep dropping back, and you play soft defense, and you allow second balls in the box, and don't put bodies on guys in the box, and you get punished. That's what happened to us today, and yeah, it sucks.
We've been talking about giving a response every week. Leading up to this game, I've said it, training has been great , the intensity has been there, the energy and all that. All I've asked out of the guys is, compete every single game. Win your one-on-ones. Let's keep going, you know? Regardless of the outside noise, we know we've got a good group here.
I said it last week: I think, I hope we can get a win. I said it before [kickoff] in the huddle to the guys: I don't care how we win , this is a win we need to be able to scrap out. This is, you know, talking about character of guys. We need guys to get more stuck in, to put bodies on guys, and it just wasn't there.
But I'm proud of this team still, and I know I have 100 percent belief in these guys, and everybody, and Jim. And you know, we've let him down , and I feel bad for him. It sucks. We deserve better, and we know we're better than this.
If guys see your energy, your intensity, your aggressiveness, I hope that guys can feed off of that. And that's what I mean by giving up soft goals, not putting bodies on guys in the box. We should be better at that.
I've said it every time: if we're going to give up a minimum of two goals every game, we're not going to win a game. You can't. You can't win a game if you're going to let in two goals every game. We need to get better. We need to step it up defensively, and, you know, get a shutout. At least.
Defensively, it's a whole team effort. Picking up second balls, the [opposing] midfielders, and stopping the attack, not letting them play in between us. But the goals that they scored today, the second goal and the third goal, those are balls that guys need to do better defensively [on], by putting bodies on and being more physical.
Like I said, I tried to set the tone by winning duels against Piatti and [Tabla]. But just be more aggressive. We can't let guys take a touch in the box free, you know? Just be more physical and more aggressive.
Every game is a new game. We set a new tactical game plan for every game. Obviously, this home stretch did not go the way we wanted it to. But the next game, the next focus, is the Galaxy [the Union play at Los Angeles on Saturday]. This is going to be sour on us for the next 24 hours, but the next training session, I hope to keep the aggression, the intensity, the energy going.
We were up 3-0 in this game, so there's still positives to take, regardless of what people might say. It feels like a loss. Yeah, it sucks. But it's a long season, still. This league, with the parity involved in it, we've seen teams come back from these ruts and still make the playoffs, and end uphaving a decent seasosn. That's the goal still, to finish strong.
Going in [at halftime] at 3-1, you're still up 3-1, right? But I think all of us, we felt very disappointed that we let in that goal [at the end of the first half], a soft goal. Let Piatti turn inside, which we know he's going to do, come inside on his right foot. I probably should have fouled him at first. I missed it. I think he got right by me, and then Chris [Pontius] could have fouled him.
And then if you look at our defense, like I said, we didn't step up in time to block a shot or get on him. And we let him in. And I think the sentiment in the locker room was, in the first couple of minutes, that we shouldn't have conceded that. We were disappointed. But at the end of the day, we came out of the locker room still confident.
We said the next goal was very important. We wish we would have scored that and killed the game off. But we didn't. I think Fafa [Picault] had a great chance to make it 4-2, and we would have gotten away with three points. But it's football, and, you know, stuff like this happens, and it sucks for us.
There's audio of the press conference here if you want to know how it all sounded.
The Twitter handle above is for my general news reporting. My soccer handle is @thegoalkeeper. Contact me there for any questions about this post.