Returning home from Los Angeles after a 2-0 loss to take on the Montreal Impact on Saturday, the Union were forced to shuffle the deck with starters Marco Fabián and Auston Trusty missing and Mark McKenzie a late scratch after having appendicitis surgery.
To replace them, head coach Jim Curtin called on veteran Aurelien Collin to make his Union debut and inserted Jamiro Monteiro as the No. 10.
“I couldn’t be prouder of the job that Aurelien Colin did today on short notice,” head coach Jim Curtin said of the 33-year-old who made his 165th career MLS start. “Guys getting asked to play in unique roles in Monteiro playing higher up the field. The players executed. It wasn’t the way we wanted to press and the tempo we want to play at, but at the same time it was three points. It was an important three points. The performance on the field, we’ll all say, wasn’t our best, but you have to find ways to win these type of games.”
The Union played their game in a different way, maintaining a slower and more controlled pace than Union fans had seen for the most part of the 2019 season but were still familiar with from 2018. They showed less aggression in the final third of the field and waited for play to develop instead of trying to force something. In the most drastic example of this, the Union managed just four shots against Montreal, despite averaging almost 14 shots a game for the past seven games.
The clean sheet was also key, especially considering the Union’s track record against Montreal, which had scored 10 times in the previous three games in Chester.
“It’s been a strange match-up for us and we have done poorly against them at home,” Curtin said. “We recognize they are not at full strength either because (Ignacio) Piatti is not here and we know how he can change the game. But they have a really good attacking group. I wasn’t happy with how we managed the start of the second half at all. But the guys stuck together, we gutted out three points and these are the kind of points that go a long way with the group.”
This win should really excite Union fans, as it showed the club is capable of much more than what they’ve showcased. A team that can master different ways to play and earn the same result is impressive and can be expected to go far. The Union is firing on all cylinders right now and is clearly one of the most dominant teams in the league. Get ready for a wild ride.