Jim Curtin: Comeback win over FCD a sign of growth for Philadelphia Union

Cory Burke and Alejandro Bedoya - Philadelphia Union

Down 1-0 to FC Dallas with less than 10 minutes left, the Philadelphia Union never stopped fighting, and their persistence paid off. 

Cory Burke scored on the rebound of a penalty kick that he won in the 85th minute to equalize, before Alejandro Bedoya scored a stoppage-time winner that sent Talen Energy Stadium into a frenzy as the Union won their third straight game.

Things are really starting to come together for Philly.

“I think everybody goes home happy with the way the Union played and about what the future of this club looks like," head coach Jim Curtin said after the game. 

On top of the jubilation that comes with a late win, Curtin is proud of the way the club went about getting a result they haven't done often when conceding first. Last season, the Union gained only eight points from losing positions, ranking them in the bottom third in the league and just three more than the Montreal Impact's five, which was fewest in MLS, per Opta.

“To come from behind is something we haven’t done well in the past," Curtin said. "We’ve been a team that if we get our goal early, for teams chasing us it’s very difficult for them. But when [other] teams get a goal, sit back and counter us, we can kind of lose our way a little bit in the past."

After starting the season with two straight losses, Philadephia have gotten better and better. The Union switched from a possession-centric attack in 2018 to a high-pressing approach this year and are starting to see direct dividends to their growing familiarity in their new system. 

“I’ve said it and I said it in the pregame talk: We’ve improved in every game we’ve played. And that’s something that is powerful,” Curtin said. “We weren’t perfect against Toronto [a 3-1 home loss in Week 1]. We actually played Kansas City really well in Kansas City [a 2-0 loss in Week 2]. Now you’re seeing us turn those results into points, which at the end of the day is what’s most important.

"We need that trajectory to keep going," he added. "It’s a long grind of 34 games, but we’re off to a good start. And I feel like having seen the rest of the league, we can play with any team. It’s a league where if you bring energy and effort and are pressing and will fight and be together, you’ll have a chance every weekend and that’s what our group does."

Looking forward, the Union have another test next weekend as they hit the road to face Zlatan Ibrahimovic and the LA Galaxy on Saturday (10:30 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+ in US, DAZN in Canada).

"I think it showed a lot of heart and character and it showed a step forward for the team," Curtin said. "And It’s a win that I think guys will rally around. We have no easy task now. We have to get on a plane to go to LA and deal with Zlatan. It’s going to be a challenge for us."