John Hackworth approached Andrew Wenger before he even left the field last Saturday.
The Union had just played to a frustrating scoreless draw with Houston at PPL Park, and Wenger was taking it hard. The forward had the best chance of stoppage time and skied the ball over the crossbar from directly in front of the goal.
Hackworth did not want that feeling to linger.
"I said, 'Andrew, just stay positive,' " the team manager said. " 'You're going to get a lot more of those opportunities, and I have complete confidence that you're going to bury more of them.' "
Wenger would like nothing more than to do so against Saturday's opponent. The Union travel to Stade Saputo for their first game against Montreal since the trade that flipped Jack McInerney for Wenger.
The swap of star forwards has not immediately translated into wins for either side. The Union (1-5-2) have not won in six games. The Impact are 0-4-3 and in last place in the Eastern Conference. Each player has one goal with his new team.
"We feel really good about Andrew and his performances. He was unlucky not to have a goal [against Houston]," Hackworth said. "He's putting himself in good positions, he's fitting into our system of play really well."
Wenger downplayed the pressure of facing the Impact. No matter the opponent, he said, the Union have to finish their chances.
Although the Union carried the play in the second half Saturday, they were not credited with a shot on target. They have scored one penalty-kick goal in their last two games.
"We are creating plenty of chances. . . . It just takes a little bit of composure to find goals," Wenger said. "We have to be sharper individually."
Hackworth said there will be little chance for sentimentality with McInerney.
"Our whole goal will be to deny not only Jack, but Marco Di Vaio and the rest of their attacking players the time and space they need to do what they do best," Hackworth said. "After the game we'll . . . wish him well until we see him next time, when he's the enemy again."