Interview / Union

Jim Curtin Quotes: Monday, October 6

Photo: Paul Rudderow

Two days after a season-altering home draw with the Chicago Fire, Saturday’s MLS results generally favored the Philadelphia Union.

Losses from Toronto and Columbus, coupled with the suspension of Crew players Waylon Francis and Federico Higuain, give the Union a slim chance to climb back into the playoff picture with three games left.

Before this weekend’s Union-Crew contest, Toronto will play host to the Houston Dynamo, with both teams using up their final “game-in-hand” on the rest of the Eastern Conference.

The best result of that game is a Houston win, or a draw.

PSP caught up with Philadelphia Union interim team manager Jim Curtin on Monday.

Philly Soccer Page: The weekend results were pretty good I guess, considering that you need some help.

Jim Curtin: Yeah, for sure. Obviously the two Columbus games coming up are huge. We’re probably going to have to take six points from them, that seems pretty clear, and you’ll need a little help. If you look at Toronto’s schedule, it’s not easy. Everybody has some tough games. We know we let things slip away against Chicago, and we’re disappointed about it, but we’re going to have to put all of the results behind us and focus on one soccer game. All of the good performances, all of the bad performances, they kind of mean nothing at this stage of the game. It’s down to us versus Columbus on our home field.

PSP: Higuain and Francis, how much do the suspensions help?

Curtin: Huge, it’s huge. Higuain is their playmaker, he’s a great player. Francis, for me, has been one of the best left backs in the league. Again, you’re never cheering for guys to be out of important games, but that was break in our favor, for sure.

PSP: Conor, Sebastien, Ethan — updates on their injuries?

Curtin: Ethan is ready to go. He’ll be ready to go. Sebastien ran today and he gave me the, “I think I’ll be ready for the weekend,” so it’ll be close. Conor stayed back and rode the bike here and it sounds like he’ll be ready for selection too.

PSP: International duty.. Rais, Carlos, Mike, any updates there?

Curtin: Just Rais. Carlos is not going anywhere. Mike is not going anywhere. Andre Blake had a little bit of an injury, so he’s not going anywhere either. We’ll have him as a backup, basically.

PSP: Looking back to Saturday, with the injuries and whatnot, would you do anything different? Or, let me rephrase and look at it this way — knowing that you’ve had success in your formation, was there any discussion about changing the shape or trying something else?

Curtin: Yeah, we talked about it. But we also wanted to simplify things and stick with what put us into position, to get us into the mix for the playoffs (in the first place). We didn’t think, it was a short week, it wasn’t a time to do something drastic and change to two forwards, especially because we weren’t sure going into the game which one forward was going to start. To say two strikers, it sounds good, but when you’re scrambling to even select one, we decided to keep it the same. And Pedro did a good job. He fought hard up there, but we weren’t able to break through against Chicago until the last second, with a defensive midfielder.

PSP: How was the mentality at training, how’s the team been since the draw?

Curtin: We had a good, hard talk. We talked about the obvious, which is that in those situations you know how we’re supposed to close a game out. The ball should have been played forward (from the set piece). But we move forward and we learn from it. We talked about not breaking off into little groups of two and three to discuss whose fault it was, and to pass blame as a technical staff and as players. That’s for losers, to go and separate yourself and start talking about who’s at fault. We’re moving away from that, and we’re just going on. Again, all of the performances this year mean zero because it comes down to one game against Columbus.

10 Comments

  1. Love that last answer.

  2. Yeah, I guess you can’t really fault the guy for not playing 2 forwards in the absence of LeToux and Casey. It’s a miracle he could find one almost-striker. Hackworth and Sack have decimated this roster. (Did anyone else notice that there were at least 2 players that the Union could have drafted instead of Blake on the USMNT U23 callup?)

  3. Per mlssoccer.com, Francis misses both games. First for 2 yellows & 2d for accumulation.

  4. Dynamo reportedly lose Garcia & Garrido this week. Give TFC the points already.

  5. Ok boys what about Williams is he still part of this team …I heard he might be out for the remainder of the season…you think we can win without this guy….smh….

    • old soccer coach says:

      I had assumed that Curtin wanted Gaddis’s speed on the right side to negate Nyassi, and that he likes Fabinho better than Williams as a left back. Is there evidence that Williams was hurt for the Fire game?

      • Eli Pearlman-Storch says:

        Yes, Curtin mentioned that both he and Casey missed out through injury. Hopefully the 10 days off will give him the time he needs to recover.

  6. I really don’t know if he deserves the coaching job or not, but one thing is for sure: If he doesn’t get it, I will miss the bluntness and not being lied to during questions like this.

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