Press Conference / Union

Curtin press conference: All about Dočkal

Philadelphia Union head coach Jim Curtin opened his weekly press conference with some comments not related to the newest member of the team, Bořek Dočkal.

Then came the good stuff.

“With the announcement that came while we were on the field today, there is a lot of excitement,” said Curtin. “[Dočkal is a player] who has worn the captain’s armband.” His signing gives the Union a midfield trio who have captained the United States, the Czech Republic, and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

“This is a player we’ve targeted for a while,” Curtin continued. “We talked about a No. 10 who can not only be a volume guy, but make everyone else better.” He added, “To sign a player that makes all the individuals around him better, which is what a true No. 10 does, is something we’ve needed and it’s what we now have.”

One phrase, though, captured the mood of the fan base and organization alike after Dočkal’s addition.

“We’re happy.”

Curtin couldn’t shed light on the terms of the deal, though. “The deal is so complex I would say I know 30%… it’s not really my area or specialty.”

The coach did convey something more personal — a conversation he had with the Czech international. Curtin told the pool of reporters down at Talen Energy Stadium, “The pressure is not on [Dočkal]. The pressure is on the technical staff, the coaches, and the players to ease the transition.” Curtin said the same to Dočkal, and the player’s response was simple: “I want the pressure.”

One bit of news did dampen some of the optimism. Dočkal picked up a bit of an ankle “tweak.” It’s why he has been practicing alone with the club. Curtin did stress it was not a serious injury.

The playmaking midfielder was already unlikely to play in the season opener against New England. With a week off after, Dočkal won’t be in danger of missing the second game of the season.

It gives Curtin the chance to start two homegrown players against the Revolution. Center back Auston Trusty has looked like the favorite to start next to Jack Elliott, and the coach all but confirmed that.

Last week, Curtin confirmed Anthony Fontana would start as the No. 10.

So the Union will start with an 18 and 19-year-old at two of the game’s most important positions. Despite watching the two earn the jobs in preseason, Curtin laughed, “I’m still nervous for them… maybe it’s the dad in me.” He continued, “It’s a proud moment I think for the club… These kids have come up through YSC to the Union juniors to the Academy to the Steel with Brendan Burke.”

The Union have an interesting roster composition, balancing a mix of veterans and youngsters. The challenge will be integrating both into a cohesive unit.

It could be a challenge in the locker room.

Curtin joked, “There’s arguments over what music gets played, I’ll put it that way.”

In 2018, the Union are hoping for harmony on the field. If they find success, they can fight over the jukebox with smiles instead of scowls.

3 Comments

  1. Quaker Shiker says:

    Thank You Jesus !!!! Can I get an Amen!

    Renewed hope the the 2018 season.

    Com’on you boys in Blue!

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