As the final minutes ticked down in the Union’s 4-3 win at the Chicago Fire on Wednesday night, Jim Curtin was happy that his team had scored three goals on the road, and was holding on to a 3-2 lead.
Then, as he put it, things “got a little crazy”: Chicago tied the game in the 94th minute, and David Accam won it for the Union just seconds later.
“I think I felt every emotion you can feel in a soccer game in the last three minutes,” Curtin said. “Probably as wild of a road game as I’ve been involved in as a player or a coach. … MLS seasons can kind of turn on these random mid-week, dog-day-of-summer-type games, and that was a big one for us.”
Whether or not the win proves a turning point, this much is for sure: Accam’s big night was the biggest talking point. The big-ticket winger finally delivered his first goal and assist in a Union jersey, and let out his emotions in his goal celebration.
“You could see the relief in him,” Curtin said. He had promised Accam he’d help find “another way to get him going again. He seized that [Wednesday] night — that’s what top players do, and he’s a top player.”
Cory Burke also impressed, with two goals in his first start since May 30. The first was the best of them: a leaping header from between two defenders near the goal line.
“That’s what strikers do,” Curtin said. “You run in nine times and you don’t get it, but the 10th time you do and you’re the hero.”
Now the Union turn to Saturday’s exhibition game against German club Eintracht Frankfurt at Talen Energy Stadium (7 p.m., live video on the Union’s Facebook page). With a U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal against Orlando coming next Wednesday, Curtin will give his reserves most of the playing time.
“You’ll see some young guys who deserve minutes and a shot to get back in the starting lineup,” Curtin said, specifically noting academy products Anthony Fontana, Matthew Real and Derrick Jones. All three players have played only sparingly for the Union this season, though they’ve featured regularly for Bethlehem Steel in the USL.
Fontana, Real, Auston Trusty and Mark McKenzie will feature on an even bigger stage at the end of this month. They were named Thursday to the squad for the July 31 MLS Homegrown Game, part of All-Star Week festivities in Atlanta. A squad of 20 MLS academy products will face the under-20 team of Mexican powerhouse Tigres.