With just under an hour gone in the Union's 2-0 home loss to Atlanta United, a few fans started chanting "We want Burke!"
They were witnessing starting striker C.J. Sapong's 11th straight game without a goal, and were fed up enough to let the Union's bench hear it.
Cory Burke didn't enter the game until the 64th minute, by which time the Union were already trailing. But it's not an overstatement to say Saturday's game will be remembered less for the final score and more for Sapong's latest serving of frustration.
"When he's having a tough time scoring, that's what he's going to be judged on," Union manager Jim Curtin said "Fair or unfair, [that's] the life of a striker, but [he's] still a guy I believe in."
Sapong recorded just one shot, no shots on target and by the box score didn't register a touch on the ball inside Atlanta's 18-yard box. The closest he got was in the 20th minute, when he was two yards off the goal line and failed to put a Haris Medunjanin corner kick into an open net.
Curtin said he felt Sapong had an "okay night," and said there would be "fingers pointed at [Sapong] after the game" if he didn't start.
Borek Dockal had the best opportunities for the Union (6-9-3, 21 points), forcing a big save from Atlanta goalkeeper Brad Guzan in the 40th minute and putting a close-range shot over the crossbar in the 55th.
Dockal knew he'd blown a big chance as soon as the ball left his foot, and Atlanta (12-4-4, 40 points) got the opening goal just two minutes later. Andre Blake took out an onrushing Miguel Almirón in the 18-yard box, and escaped a red card only because he made a play for the ball. Josef Martínez buried the ensuing penalty kick.
Héctor Villalba scored the second goal, after a pretty passing sequence between Almirón and Martínez.
The Union ended the night with an 18-16 advantage in shots and 52.5 percent of the possession. Those are no small feats against the league's most dynamic attacking force.
But Atlanta has the league's best record because of how often it scores. The club leads the league with 42 goals. Martínez has scored a league-best 18 of them.
The Union, meanwhile, have the Eastern Conference's lowest goals total with 21. Curtin was asked if he feels his team has enough attacking firepower, and gave a terse one-word answer: "Yes."
But it likely isn't coincidence that the Union are now in ninth place in the standings.