Press Conference

Transcript and video: Jim Curtin’s weekly press conference

Questions have been paraphrased

On playing Toronto twice in four days

Yeah, it’s certainly a unique schedule with having to play them home and away now, it’s like a hockey series or something. But, yeah, it’s strange, They’ve had some changes there but the thing that we’ve been stressing all week is that this game is about us. We kind of control our own destiny at home with the majority of our home games being here. They’ll have a little bit of tired legs ’cause they played on the weekend, we have that advantage as well, so we’ll want to use that to our advantage. This is the only team that we haven’t seen yet so, again, they’re a team that’s dangerous. Any time you play an Eastern Conference team it’s going to be very challenging. But, yeah, it is a unique schedule, to say the least.

On Sebastien Le Toux saying he has more freedom to play under Jim Curtin

He’s been in great form. Sebastien’s a guy who — I think I said it last week — the defensive work he’s doing leads to a lot of his goals that he gets. We have put him…

(audio cuts out for 19 seconds)

…guy as he’s gotten later in his career, so the crosses and assists he’s getting are just as valuable as the goals he’s creating. But, with me, as a coach, the defensive stuff is what I’m most proud of what he’s done. I think by doing that hard work defensively he’s getting rewarded with goals, whether it’s on turnovers — or even, you see a lot of times if our goalkeeper makes a save how quickly he breaks out — it’s the little things he does to get goals. He’s been impressive, he’s go to be in talks now for Best XI down the stretch here for the league.

Question begins about the coaching change in Toronto before the audio cuts out for 17 seconds

…what we do in the game. But any time there is a new coach that comes in — I know Greg Vanney well, he’s a very good coach, we coached against each other in the youth academy, actually, so I do know what he’s about. His team’s play, he’s a very good coach. He’s young still, so we’re similar in that regard. He’ll put together a team that will be going for three points on the road.

On the challenges presented by Carlos Valdes being away on international duty

Yeah, it’s difficult, you know? It’s kind of the gift and the curse of having players that play in international games. There’s always discussions that you could not let them go, hold them back because this is the most important part of our season but, at the same time, the ultimate goal of players is to play for their country, so I didn’t think that would be right. People say, “Ah, they’re just friendlies,” but there’s no friendlies in soccer, that’s setting them up for the next…

(audio cuts out for 19 seconds)

With Valdes being away, would this be an opening for someone like Austin Berry to see minutes?

Yes. I’m not going to tell my lineup here. I don’t think that would be very beneficial but, yeah, Austin’s available for selection, just like everybody else is that’s here, that’s healthy, and physically here. We only have 19 guys in training today, total, so there’ll be one guy that’s the odd man out, but everyone that’s here is available for selection.

Have you seen any difference in the level of competition in practice with so many spots being open?

We’ve had a good week. We’ve kept it similar to how we’ve gone about our business the past ten weeks or so. Competition is good. Guys know that they’ll be called upon to step in. I made the point at the start of training this week: There’ll be one guy that’s in front of me right now — as I talk to the group — there will be one guy that’s in front of me right now that will play a major role in this thing that hasn’t played minutes at all this year. It always happens in MLS. In every team I’ve been involved in, a guy that somebody least expects to steps up, whether it’s scoring a big goal or making a big play, a big save, whatever it might be, that’s going to be something that will happen and our team will be no different.

On the goalkeeping situation with Rais Mbolhi away on international duty

The pecking order is Rais, Zac, and Andre right now, that’s the order of things. Zac will come in and a guy that’s had a very good year will be called upon to have another good game for us. I go to stop saying this is a big game because they’re all big at this point, we haven’t played any game that’s not big. It’s a playoff-like atmosphere; Zac will be ready for it. He had a very good week of training, solid. Through this whole thing he’s handled it like a professional, and his name is called upon now and he’ll step up for us.

More on Toronto

They’re a handful. They’ve had some really good stretches this year, they’ve had some down ones; just like every other MLS team there’s some ebbs and flows to their season, but we still respect them a great deal. I’m very close and know Michael Bradley very well, what he’s all about — he’s going to be a key guy that we’ll to have to focus on. He starts their attack so we’ll try to do our best to not have him on the ball very much. Obviously, with Defoe’s injury that helps us, but Gilberto’s a guy up top that makes very good runs, he’s got some pace, and in very good form right now. Obviously, Oduro gives another speed threat out wide. They’re a handful, they have have some guys that compete. They have a little bit of a makeshift backline right now but they have guys that have played in MLS games that are experienced, so we know that it’s not going to be easy — there’s no easy game in MLS. I’ve said it before about our group: We have a very good group when everybody plays good. We can’t afford though — the margin for error is zero — we can’t have three and four guys have bad games. We don’t need anyone to have a great game, we just need everybody to be good, do their job, and that’s kind of been our message and our mantra over the past 13 games or so.

Injury report

Fabinho trained full today, he’s back and he’ll be available for selection, most likely as a reserve, though, just cause, having the week and a half off, probably not ready to get thrown right back out there.

That was a knee injury?

Yeah, it’s a strange one, it was like the back of the knee, though, it wasn’t anything struck the front. More of a bruise than a hard knock or anything else.

On Cristian Maidana’s status

Chaco’s had his best week of training over the past, you know, since he’s come back, actually. He’s been very good in training. It’s very good to see him with a lot of life, his legs seem back under him, he’s fit, he’s put a lot of work in — he just gives you another guy now that can make a final pass, a guy that can take a team apart and, obviously, restarts and corner kicks and free kicks is something that’s very valuable.

Any restrictions for Maidana returning?

No he’s been cleared, he’s fully ready to go now. There’ll be no restrictions on him so we’re happy with where he’s at physically, the hamstring issue is gone. He has no pain, nothing’s restricting him. The Harrisburg game was actually big for us just to see him in a game. You can recreate things in a practice all you want but that game speed and intensity is key. He held up to that and, like I said, had a very good week of training.


  1. I like Curtin’s comments on *text cuts out for 19 seconds*

  2. Only 19 players to choose from?? What? I know 6 are on international duty but I thought we had 30 total or am I an idiot.

    • He’s not including the guys that are on loan at other clubs as there’s no need to recall any of them unless it’s absolutely necessary (i.e – we have a rash of injuries on Wed night and need reinforcements for Sat).

  3. The Watergate tapes had less audio gaps than a typical Union press conference.

  4. OneManWolfpack says:

    Audio cuts out at EVERY PRESS CONFERENCE… someone needs to be fired! Haha!

  5. If we can’t listen to all the comments why put them up? real annoying haha. Why isn’t this fixed?

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