The Union's season took its latest turn for the worse on Saturday in a 2-0 loss to FC Dallas.
It was the fourth time in six games this season that the Union (1-3-2, 5 points) failed to score a goal. And this time, it wasn't because of bad luck. Dallas (3-0-3, 12 points) outshot the Union by a 17-9 margin, including 10-2 in shots on target. Andre Blake made five of his eight saves in the first half.
The game was scoreless at halftime only because Dallas failed to convert three clear breakaway opportunities.
In the second half, it was C.J. Sapong's turn to repeatedly come up short. He missed a header in the 56th minute, then two minutes later couldn't get the ball into an open net after Dallas goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer made a double-save on Sapong and David Accam.
Sapong stood by the goal post with his hands on his head and a look of disbelief. It was the season in an image for the Union, who have the most shots per game in MLS but just three goals scored to show for it.
Karma bit the Union in the 64th, as Dallas was awarded a penalty kick after Auston Trusty hauled down Matt Hedges amid a Dallas corner kick. It was a tussle that often goes un-called, but Trusty didn't help himself by putting his arms on Hedges' waist.
If all of that wasn't frustrating enough, Accam provided another lowlight in the 73rd minute when an easy pass from Alejandro Bedoya went straight off the wide-open Ghanaian's foot and out of bounds. Just over a minute later, Maxi Urruti doubled Dallas' lead.
"It's a challenge right now to keep the guys positive," Union manager Jim Curtin admitted after tonight's game.
Curtin notably made only two of his three allowable substitutions. Ilsinho replaced Fafa Picault in the 65th and Cory Burke replaced Accam in the 75trh. But neither Sapong nor Borek Dockal, who had another ineffective night, were removed.
The Union's next game is Saturday at home against one of the only teams in MLS as bad as they are, D.C. United. After that, the Union embark on a stretch of three road games in a week: reigning champion Toronto on May 4, Columbus on May 9 and Montreal on May 12.