The question had only half been asked of Alejandro Bedoya when the Union’s captain started shaking his head in disgust, agreeing with the premise and loading up to answer it.
Yes, he was plenty angry about the Union’s having given up two losses and a tie to three clearly lesser teams in a stretch of 12 days. And he had plenty to say.
“Another two points lost again,” Bedoya said Wednesday, adding in an unprintable phrase along the way. “We just weren’t up for it, it seemed like, and I put that on me, I put it [on] everybody — we’ve just got to be better. And then, you know, we didn’t kill them off. I mean, we had two clear-cut chances in the second half that I feel like on another day should definitely be goals. And then we can talk about the handball.”
Bedoya might not have yet seen the replay angle which showed the ball hitting Michael Bradley in his side before it hit his wrist, which negated it being a foul. But he didn’t need to see the replay to know the game shouldn’t have come down to that anyway.
“We shouldn’t have to leave it up to the referee,” Bedoya said after a 2-2 draw with Toronto FC. “I mean, another two points lost. It’s freaking frustrating. … Go back to Montreal, Minnesota and this game. We’re just leaving points on the board at such a crucial time.”
Manager Jim Curtin was more sanguine, as is his nature. But he grew annoyed as he took a series of questions on starting the same lineup for the third time in eight days.
“This is what we have right now,” he said. “We weren’t sharp enough, but I won’t put it down to physical fitness or anything like that.”
Unfortunately, for Curtin, that won’t stop anyone else from wondering — especially when it comes to Bedoya. The sight of him limping off in the 86th minute made it even easier than usual to wonder whether he’s being overworked.
“Yeah, look, he’s worked hard; he’s our leader; he’s our captain, so I have to trust him,” Curtin said. “A lot more goes into the lineup and the decisions on the field than just, do we play young guys, do we play old guys, when we lose is it that we didn’t rotate. It becomes kind of cliché, and almost borders on lazy.”
Not surprisingly, Bedoya did not volunteer to lessen his workload.
“I’m down to play however many minutes [Curtin] is willing to put me in for, you know, and I’ll give it all I’ve got,” Bedoya said, later adding, “I want to play every game like any other player does, right? And it’s not up to me to decide if I’m going to play or not. So, you know, whenever I’m in the starting lineup, I’ve got to go out there and get try to get the job done.”
Both men set the team’s goal at earning a first-round home playoff game. But they know they were in the driver’s seat to finish second until they dropped points Wednesday. And even as Curtin brought out an old line that his players “punch above their weight — way above their weight — every week,” he knows his team has earned the right to fight in a higher class over the last few years.
The Union may still finish second in the East, since Nashville has to go to Orlando on Sunday (4 p.m., UniMás, TUDN, and Twitter) before hosting the New York Red Bulls on Nov. 7 to finish the regular season. Orlando finishes at Montreal, which might be facing a win-and-get-in game that day.
But even if the Union beat Cincinnati on Sunday, they might still have to get a result a week later at Yankee Stadium, where they’ve never won. And with Cincinnati poised to clinch MLS’s worst record for the third straight year — all of its years in the league — if the Union don’t win that game, that will say enough.