Press Conference

Transcript and video: Jim Curtin’s weekly Union press conference

Note: Questions have been paraphrased.

Opening statement

OK, just to touch briefly on the Kansas City game. Obviously, a devastating result in the end. I thought it was a good 91 minutes.

The worst thing for me is that a lot of really good performances from guys go unnoticed. I thought Ayuk was excellent. Maurice did a great job at center back. Brian Carroll came in in a tough spot with Nogueira not being able to play, finding out at the very last second on that one. Michael Lahoud, very good; Fernando, very good; Sebastien — you could go through the whole team and check a lot of the boxes that they won their individual battle on the day. But, at the end, it’s devastating because we lose the war, we don’t get any points. Difficult moving on now to New York City FC.

To clarify some things, Rais Mbolhi will not be playing in goal. John McCarthy will be our starter, Andre Blake will back him up.

Just to be clear on that: It was my decision, a decision that I made, and it was based on performance, and it’s what I think is best now for Rais, and for the Philadelphia Union moving forward to get a result against New York City FC this weekend.

The last thing I guess I’d like to clear up too is, as the head coach, I’m responsible for all of the decisions that are made here. It’s not up to the players, it’s not up to Nick, it’s not up to Jay Sugarman. I have the final say, I make the decisions to move this team forward.

I’m responsible for our three loses, as well. I’m a guy that has been honest and upfront with all of the press and, much like coaches in this league, I think a lot like quarterbacks they get a lot of the praise when things are going well, and they deserve to take the heat when things aren’t going well. So, I’m responsible for the three losses. I make the decisions here and I have to live with them. And I have to get this team back in form.

We still have very good players, and we still have a very good team, and a real belief. Today’s training was upbeat, positive — the guys are really putting the work in and showing that we are getting better. As tough as that is to see right now, we are an improving team. We’re trying to lose the culture of losing and not closing games out. That’s a tough thing to put an end to — there’s a process to it — but I think we are still moving in the right direction, as tough as it may seem.

I’ll call upon our fans, who I think are the best fans in the league. We’re going to need them this Saturday in a major way. And what’s great about our fans — I shouldn’t call them fans, we have supporters, which is different than fans, you know? They’re faithful until the end. That’s what supporters are and I think we have some of the best in the league. Our guys are going to need them this Saturday to push us over the edge, the 12th man, so to speak.

What specifically about the goalkeeping situation didn’t work out?

We win and lose games as a team. But as the Kansas City game went on, and throw in after throw in was going into the box and there seemed indecision with Rais, I just think — and I talked with him yesterday about it — he doesn’t seem like himself. He didn’t seem like the goalkeeper that I saw that was winning us games in the preseason singlehandedly. I think the confidence was gone in him, his personal confidence to come off his line and make a punch after a lot of balls were getting thrown in the box to kind of bail out our defenders. I understand he can’t do that every time, but after the repetition of Besler throw ins — five, six, seven, eight, nine– and seeing that we were struggling a little bit, you know,maybe there’s a moment where he can come out and get one.

So, we talked about that, and my decision is based on, right now, he doesn’t look like himself. I think it’s best for the team that he have a seat and watch, and the team can move forward.

Now you’re left with a pretty significant cap hit. Beyond stuff on the field, is that something you’re going to look at?

Yeah, of course. You talk about salaries, there’s always expectations in pro sports that go along with salaries and performances. The guy who makes a good amount of money on the team is going to be held to a higher regard than the kid that you draft from Slippery Rock, you know? So, again, with that come bigger expectations and, yeah, he’s an experienced player who we needed to ride some moments to get us points and win games, and right now that’s not happening. It could still happen down the road but, at the same time, right now it’s not, and I think it’s a needed change.

Mbolhi’s not here training with the team. Is that a decision taken jointly?

Yeah, I spoke with him yesterday. It’s my decision that it’s best for him and the team right now that he’s not with the group. We’re going to move forward with…McCarthy will be our starter. Andre, coming off the knee injury, is not quite himself yet. Showing very well in training but still, to throw him into the fire right now in his first game of the year coming off a knee injury? I don’t think the timing for that is good. John’s been excellent in the preseason, John’s earned this right to be a starter. I’ve been very impressed with him, he’s a kid that I have faith in, and I know our players have faith in, too. You know, anytime you play a new goalkeeper, everyone has to raise the bar a little bit higher: our defenders need to do a little bit more, our midfielders need to do a little bit more, because, again, he’s a young goalkeeper. He played a full season last year and saw a lot of action, so he has that under his belt. But, I will ask our guys to raise the level even a little bit higher and do the little things to help John through his first start with the Philadelphia Union.

Do you expect Mbolhi back soon? Are there plans in place to try to make a move?

That’ll be up to me, also. Putting a plan together, there are some things we can talk about publicly, and I think the things we can talk about publicly are his performance based, that’s why he’s not going to start, and it was my decision are the two things we can talk about publicly. But there’s certain things that will be kept in house in terms of transferring players and that kind of thing. That’s going to stay inside.

Going back to the Kansas City game, Ethan White was put on the bench. How do you separate the defensive struggles between the defensive marking and goalkeeping? 

Listen, for me, Ethan White is one of my favorite players — you can talk to any of the staff, the technical staff — so, that was a hard one for me to do. I thought Ethan had a great preseason but, again, in the games, confidence on the ball was lacking a little bit. I know he’s going to come back and bounce back, and he will be a contributor with this team down the road.

It is a team thing but, at the same time I think I’m making this move in what’s best for the team. I think John is a guy who will come out of the goal on crosses and deal with things in the air. And right now, Rais didn’t have the confidence and the presence, and maybe made a mistake or two in the last game, and that leads to that.

Was it all a performance decision or did personality enter into it? 

Performance. He actually is a good guy when I sit down and talk with him, he’s a smart, intelligent guy. He sees the game, he’s a pro. He did mention that he can’t guarantee how he reacts from this because this is the first time he’s been benched. So, again, he’ll take some time away, reflect on some things, things he can do better, things he can improve on — just like I do after we lose, you know? He’s a professional and I expect him to come back better than ever.

How much did Blake’s injury set him back in putting McCarthy ahead of him?

It’s an injury that he’s coming back from: it’s timing, it’s getting the reps back in training every day. Andre’s progressed well, but he’s still, when I talk with Paulo about him, he’s close to being a hundred percent. But, I would hate for the first time for him to see live action in a game…so maybe we get him a game in Harrisburg so he can see some crosses, you know? John’s been going now and played preseason games — been in the fire, so to speak — been in training sessions for a lot longer time. Andre had significant time off where he missed some time. He did his rehab very diligently and came back quicker than expected, he was ahead of pace in terms of his knee actually healing. So, he’s done the work, it’s just a matter of the reps and thinking the timing may not be right to throw Andre in there just yet.

Toward the end of last year, you, Nick Sakiewicz, and Jay Sugarman talked a lot about long-term plans, which included people like Mbolhi. With all the hoopla that came with his arrival, did you ever think you would be in this situation?

It’s a good question. Plans get made in the short-term, there’s long-term but, the famous Mike Tyson line, “Everyone has plan until you get punched in the face.” So, you have to adjust. This is the first step in the adjusting. I think it’s what’s best for the team. I think we have to move on as a group and get that first win. I think the group has belief; it may not seem it the way we’ve closed out games, but there is still a confidence that I have in the players, and I think the players have in me. So, again, I think we’re early into this thing. It is three losses that we’ve had, which is, you know, they’ve been tough losses, for sure, sleepless nights that go along with it — it’s difficult. But at the same time, I still think there’s a ton of season in front of us, and a way to get this thing right, and I think this is a first step in that.

On John McCarthy as a player and person

He’s tough. I  mean, he’s a tough kid that I’ve watched play for a long time, whether it was pickup games at YSC that I was involved in when I was retired, and I guy that I rated pretty highly. A kid that I monitored last year when he went on trial out in Seattle, monitored him last year in the USL PRO with Rochester — had some good games there  — and I guy that I have faith in, a guy that I believe in, and I think can do the job.

Given the history in this country of producing quality goalkeepers, does it make sense to you in the short or long term to use an international spot and a large amount of salary space on a goalkeeper? 

There’s two ways of thinking in that. With Rais, we were getting a guy off of a World Cup, so you’re going to pay a higher price for him. I would agree that an American goalkeeper is solid, it’s one we produce in abundance. But, at the time, we thought Rais would give us a calming presence back there and, for a game or two, he did. But,at the same time, I think the way that we started the season, and the things I’ve seen on the field confidence-wise with him, I decided to make the change.

Philosophically, I do understand the idea. I mean, guys I played with, Brad Guzan, that’s a guy you would embrace and you’d probably pay a little extra premium to get a guy like that. Tim Howard, obviously, comes to mind as well. But there’s good young American goalkeepers. I’d put McCarthy in that category of one that doesn’t cost that much and is a guy that we think can come in and do a job.

Can you give an update on Fernando Aristeguieta’s hand injury and the injury status of the rest of the team?

Fernando towards the end of the [Kansas City] game he fractured his hand, got stepped on. He’s a tough kid, he didn’t even really look over to the bench or ask for anyone to come on field. I saw the play because I saw him get up and I saw him just shake it and, he didn’t really think much of so I didn’t at the time. You get the report the following morning that it’s swollen up. They did an X-ray of it; he had surgery yesterday morning and then was supposed to be eased into training today, but he’s a tough kid and he said he wants to play. He ran around with a cast on it and they put a pin in there. He’s a…didn’t complain about anything. He’s a guy who, again, has bought into this mindset and this mentality that he wants to be here, he wants to win, and he’s a guy that I’m very happy with how he’s played.

And Sheanon Williams, Vincent Maidana, Cristian Maidana?

Sheanon trained full, he should be available for selection this weekend. Vincent, just talked with him a second ago, positive response to running a little harder today and cutting on it felt better. The X-rays were negative for anything too damaged structurally, so he’s OK. I think he’ll be available in some way this weekend. Maidana ran and did just the technical part of training, the passing part. Still not cutting hard on it, still probably a little bit off in terms of if we’re talking specifically for this weekend. Probably a very long shot for Maidana this weekend. Progressing and, again, eager to get him back.

Conor Casey?

Conor trained full the past two days. Towards the end of today’s session he came out; it was just more fatigue and not wanting to damage it again. But he looked sharp yesterday and then followed up with a good day today, and his body seems to be responding well. Again, it’s very good that we’re getting a full stable of guys back and making some hard decisions for me.

Thoughts on NYCFC

I mean, it’s New York, so its a rival, but you can’t really call it too big of a rival yet because we haven’t played. A team I respect a great deal, Jason Kreis is great coach, he’ll have them organized, he does a good job. Obviously, key guys would be Mix and Villa. We’ve already started talking about them and how we want to limit their touches on the ball. Very dynamic, very good players that can both score a goal from their own individual effort. So, again doesn’t have the feel of an expansion team, they’ve collected, because Jason knows the league so well, a great mix of foreign players and then guys that you’d call MLS effective. Guys that are winners, you know, the Ned Grabavoys, the Wingerts, the Jason Hernadezs, the guys that, you know, maybe aren’t the sexy names in our league, but they give you 30, 34 games every year, and they’re winners. For me, that’s the…those are the guys that are most important. I’ve talked to you guys about that a lot.

What can you say about the two guys training with the team this week?

James Murphy’s a young player that we had contact with U-18 national team coach Javier Perez who wanted to see him pushed a little bit more, so we provided that opportunity. Good player, a kid I’ve been around a bunch, he actually played for the Union in Generation adidas Cup several years back. Tough, Ball-winner. Very good player, very bright future, I think he has a future as a pro. He’s actually, when I talk about — it’s early to say for the kid, but, you know, you talk about…he reminds me of like a Brad Evans type, or a Jack Jewsberry type, these guys that are good ten-year pros that do their job. So, he’s very positive, good young player that we’re helping out with progressing with the US national team; hopefully he’ll be part of that camp moving forward with them.

And then Facundo is a player who is actually an old teammate of Chaco Maidana. Didn’t know that until they kind of crossed paths and saw each other in the locker room. But a guy that is a calm presence on the ball, obviously a very sharp player, can make a final pass; a guy that we’re looking at for the week and we’ll see what happens from there.

On making a strong showing at home at PPL Park on Saturday

You can talk about making PPL a fortress, and being dominant here, and winning 1-0, 2-0 games here like I’ve talked about but, until you do it, it’s just talk. And we’re at the stage now where talk is cheap in everything that we’ve done, whether it be talking the entire week on improving on restarts and then giving up three goals — and a goal that they called back, on a restart. We’re past the talking part. I think the guys know what needs to be done, and what needs to be executed, and I’m confident that we’ll get it right. Again, PPL is a place where our fans have always backed us. Whether we win, whether we lose, they stand behind us. Those are the people that we need to do a good job for this weekend and get three points. And I think once we do get our first win, things will fall into place, because it’s been some crazy games this year for us and the guys are kind of shocked in some ways with how things go; you can’t make it up in a lot of ways. But, we’re staying strong, and we’re staying confident, and, again, it’s my job to put the three losses behind us and find a win.

 Do you have plans on keeping Maurice Edu in the backline?

It’s not a hundred percent, I still think that Ethan will continue to push. I thought Mo was very good in the Kansas City game: he was engaged, his reactions were great, he put in a really, really solid performance. On the field he’s been excellent, but I’m as happy with off the field [of him] becoming more of a leader, talking more, communicating more in the locker room, and holding guys accountable, which he’s done a really good job of. And, again, in some ways I feel devastated for the group that they haven’t gotten a result yet because they’ve worked so hard and put so much into it that they deserve one. It’s going to come.

Are the performance issues you talked about with Mbolhi related to handling crosses, a leadership issue in organizing the backline?

I think it’s both. I think there’s been moments where it’s been personal performance whether it’s kicking, or catching, or coming out, or winning a head ball in the box as a team, and then there’s been moments where it’s the group, whether our line is stepping together — is one guy too far deep, is one guy’s hips, you know, facing square and not ready to retreat. So, it’s a combination of both of those things. Listen, I still think that, you know, I made the change with Ethan White, as well, and Ethan’s a guy that I rate very highly, I think he just had a little bit of a lack of confidence on the ball. So, we made a change. I’d say Rais is the same boat: he doesn’t look like the same player that I saw in the preseason. There’s confidence that’s lacking in himself, and, you know, that leads usually to your teammates, as well. So, again, I wanted to do what’s best for him, because there’s no worse feeling when you’re out on the field and you’re not confident, you know? So, yeah, part of it was the coming for crosses, but the other part is the goals that we’ve given up; we’ve given up too many, and we’re trying to make adjustments and changes to improve that and get back to getting clean sheets.

If these changes work well and you start shutting down the opposition, is this something you’re prepared to stick with long term, or is it Mbolhi back in the lineup when he says his confidence has returned?

I am a big believer — I know it may not seem it because of the different injuries and things that have happened in the back this year — but I am a big believer in you need a consistent backline, a group that gets used to playing with one another. But when results aren’t going your way, and the mistakes are all…there’s a trend that its the restarts, and for me, some of those things can be fixed. We’ve made a couple of changes that in the attempt to try to find the right mix of guys that will enable us to get some continuity to the backline. If we do win with the group, I’m not a guy who changes a winning team — maybe if there’s a major injury to a star player — but do like to stick with the winning team. So, yeah, if this team gets on a run I’m not going to change anything.

The passing numbers in Kansas City were low, but the defensive organization was so much improved. What are looking at to better transition out of the back?

Yeah, I agree. We look at all the data and all the stats, and I am a guy who does filter and take the analytics in, and take the things that I think are important. The most important thing would’ve been to get up 3-1, and then we’re not talking about passing percentages or anything like that, it’s just a good win. We had on the one play, we had three opportunities to get up 3-1 between the midfield breakaway, Seba’s followup, guy makes a good save, it bounces to Mikey, again, who played a great game but, you know, would tell you he should score that one — and then we’re not talking analytics. But, our passing percentage was low, completion percentage was low. Kansas City on the road is difficult. When you score a goal in the second minute, it skews a lot of the possession stats for sure. In the run of play, I don’t think they really broke us down, I think the only shots they had were Dom Dwyer outside the box a couple of times and maybe a header that was headed to Rais. So, yes, the completion percentage is an issue. We talked about it in training today in a transition exercise we played. We do focus on connecting that first pass when you finally do work so hard and win the ball: connecting that first pass, holding it, and letting our team move up the field. So, that is something that we’ve talked about and addressed, something we can always improve on. You can always be better with the ball, we talk about that a lot. But, at the same time, some of those statistics — the time of possession — it all gets skewed when there’s the lag time of 24 Besler throw ins as he walks up to throw it in. A lot of that stuff gets skewed with the lead, the situations in the game. Again, if it’s 3-1, but it wasn’t, and that’s the point, that’s why I have to answer the question. I know there’s things we have to fix.

On getting Andrew Wenger more involved in the offense

A lot of Andrew’s chances come from come from the defensive work that he puts in, and I thought he put in a great shift defensively against Kansas City. If you remember back to the one where he gets the opportunity on his right foot — sometimes you only get one good look a game — he kind of went to curl it but he mishits it right at the goalkeeper. Those are the fine lines I talk about all the time: when you get your chance in the box, it may only be one a game, but if he wants to take the next step to becoming that elite player in MLS, those are the ones he needs to bury. He knows that. He did a good job, I thought, against Kansas City in not pressing, not trying to force things. We have to do a better job of putting him into the position to get isolated and take guys on, whether that means him joining in a little closer to Fernando sometimes coming inside, going outside not just being a guy who is always very easy to defend with one outside back. There’s no one answer, but finding a balance between mixing it up, running at guys, playing an early first-time ball sometimes, sometimes off the dribble. I’m happy with Andrew still, I know he’s going to be a guy who’s going to be producing a lot of our offense. Other teams know that too, so we need other guys to step up around him.


  1. “The last thing I guess I’d like to clear up too is, as the head coach, I’m responsible for all of the decisions that are made here. It’s not up to the players, it’s not up to Nick, it’s not up to Jay Sugarman. I have the final say, I make the decisions to move this team forward.”
    If the above statement has to do with coaching decisions I agree. However, if those decisions include the responsibilities of a GM then there is a problem. Curtin is barely showing a solid coaching acumen so him having GM responsibilities along with Albright is piss poor idea. If as usual Curtin is trying to cover Sakeiwicz’s ass then he is fooling no one. If Curtin was allowed to make a GM decision in the case of Mbolhi before even being named coach truly speaks to just how ass backwards this organization is! What an insult to the intelligence of anyone with a functioning brain! Bring in a real GM NOW and sell this franchise to a competent and financially competitive owner!


    • I think it is more like Sak comes in and says “We’d like to get Mbolhi and can – do you want him?” and Curtin can say yes or no. If he says no, then … well, you know what happens because Sak is his boss. If he says yes, then its on him, not Sak – at least in Sak’s mind. The reality is that the Mbolhi deal was cooking for months. Based on Curtin’s comments, sure seems like Mbolhi is gone – a painful end to a bad decision. In court, the evidence against Sak could be said to be “cumulative”, as in piling up, overflowing or beyond the need for further evidence. #freetheUnion

  2. Well. The manager accepted responsibility and for that I give him credit. The Rais situation must be a mess. Moving on.

    • John Ling says:

      Same. It’s easy to say we tied CO or RSL because of ref decisions, or complain about the bevvy of injuries. Instead, he stood there and said, “It’s my fault.” That’s worth something to me.
      And making some unpopular (in the locker room) changes – particularly benching White and moving Edu back – is worth something.
      And absolutely making the right call on MBohli is worth something.
      But now he’s gotta put up or shut up. I’m willing to accept some growing pains as he learns on the job. But right now, this week, he’s gotta put up or shut up. They have to win Saturday, and it has to be convincing. They can’t hold on by the skin of their teeth at the end; they have to be in control from start to finish, with the only thing in doubt being just how bad we beat them.

      • alicat215 says:

        I’m with your last paragraph….put up or shut up. Other squads get it done with what we have or less. Yes you walked into an incredibly crappy situation…for that I empathize with him, the human Jim. Gaffer Jim has made some incredibly naive decisions in matches and to start matches. This is the top level of pro footy in our country……no one should be given the right to learn on the job. I just think thats absurd. The top level is survival of the fittest……he knew what he was getting himself into….he’s not dumb. Hand holding at this level is just crazy. Yes he admitted the buck stops with him….props. But again, this should have been done weeks ago. Benching Rais ( weeks ago!) and White isn’t the only issue here………

  3. I have a gut feeling that this is actually the bottom, and that this signals the start of an ascent for this team, possibly even a major one. Yeah, there’s every reason to be doubtful, but the team was in a deeper hole than this last year, and nearly made the playoffs. Maybe I’m nuts. But I suppose we’ll find out soon.

    • the nadir. the nadir. is it near.

    • alicat215 says:

      Nope……we are still not near rock bottom……watch. I still think there is more jaw dropping in the works………..

      • Yea are y’all kidding me? The debacle in KC was way more business as usual as opposed to the truly horrid wake up call it should be. We are tough fans and not because one guy threw snowballs at someone or threw up on someone, but because we stand by our teams…I don’t think anyone that really supports the U would have a hard time getting through this year if there was a sunny future at the end of the tunnel that this season is. The only problem is that is there really light at the end

      • Dude, if they had their current record with all their youth out there….and they gave some from their academy kids looks… wouldn’t hear a peep from me. At least then, there is some vision or philosophy, a plan for the future…….we don’t have any of that currently.

    • This has to be true…right? Can’t get worse, can it? Shaky officiating – check. Ridiculous red cards – check. Injuries to critical players – check. And the MBolhi fiasco. Is there another level of misery lower than where we are now? Fire up the Rocky IV training montage before the NYCFC game and let’s get going.

  4. Old Soccer Coach says:

    All credit to Curtin for making the decision, it needed to be made. He is sending a message that if you do not perform you will sit after a fair opportunity to improve, not just through M’Bohli but also through White. Wenger needs to take notice.
    It will be informative to see where Marquez is next weekend. If Philly, then they are happy with him. If Harrisburg, then they are looking for a reserve CB. It won’t be Berry; he’s less confident on the ball than White.

    McCarthy; Williams, Edu, Vitoria, Gaddis; Lahoud, Nogueira?, Le Toux, Pfeffer, Wenger/Ayuk; Aristegueita. Marquez, Lee, Blake, Carroll, Sapong, Casey, (Ayuk/Wenger).

    • John Ling says:

      I like that back line.

      • alicat215 says:

        John, the new back line still gave up three last weekend….thats just unacceptable.

      • John Ling says:

        The “new” backline didn’t have Williams back on the field, like OSC’s post. I like what a back four of Williams, Edu, Vitoria, and Gaddis can give us; I like it even better with a different keeper behind them. Yes, they gave up three last game. And three is completely unacceptable. But let’s also be honest. The goalie should have, for sure, had one of those. Probably could’ve had two; and maybe even gets all three.
        What they need to show now is a marked improvement (no pun intended) on set piece defending. (side note: Can anybody come up with a justification for Gaddis man-marking Dwyer on KC’s set pieces? Anything at all? Because I think the only worse match up would’ve been Le Toux…)

      • the first goal yes……numbers two and three were on multiple people…….not just the keeper…….dumb fouls, shyte marking, and getting pushed around like rag dolls….again…..don’t see it.

  5. The Little Fish says:

    I give Jim Curtain a ton of credit for jettisoning M’bolhi, benching Ethan White AND putting Mo Edu on D where we need him most. I’m thrilled he had the stones to separate M’bolhi from the team. It must be driving Curtain absolutely insane to caugh up all these late goals. With Mo Edu next to Vitoria, and a healthy Sheanon Williams Curtain will finally be able to stabilize our backline. Now bring on the clean sheets. STAT.

    • alicat215 says:

      They still gave up three set piece goals with that stellar back 4 you speak of. If you ask anyone in football if you give up three on sets………….thats just flat out unacceptable. You can get 4 PDL guys to put up a stiff defense throughout the run of play…thats tactically not that hard to do and is done with regularity throughout the world, here, even in college. Defending set pieces comes having strong CBs and a strong keeper……again, we gave up three last weekend. I don’t see this stellar back 4 you speak of……..

      • Lee was on that stellar back line for two of the goals …

      • yeah, but Jim knows what he’s talking about right? Put in a rookie when your about to steal three from KC? Naive and foolish…..and it cost them……again.

      • Keeper was a major issue on at least 2 goals, and Lee and Fabinho should be out of the picture this weekend. Williams is much more important than many give him credit for….

  6. After sleeping on some things, I awaken this morning with a renewed sense of optimism. The inherent cultural Philadelphia Union changes will not be made today, maybe not at all, and I will continue to lobby and rail against them for the good of the Union – but this past weekend and yesterday, this man – our manager – showed me he has some moxy.
    Maybe he has an exponential learning curve as well and will adjust his in game management and become the game day leader we hope him to be – cause he is certainly earning respect with some of the non-game-day difficult decisions. Well done Jim. Now, about three points.

    • alicat215 says:

      Joel, I can’t be as nice as you dude. I don’t think its moxy….any gaffer has to make changes when you only have two points out of five matches……if he didn’t do anything…..the fan base would be seething. Dude, I coached for 14 years and if my squad was having issues….we got blown out early in the year….that was the sign to make adjustments. Thats why, as a coach, I always had stiff opposition for my boys in the preseason and first matches……to see if my vision will work against the other big hitters. If it succeeds we are good, if we have issues( and normally you will)…adjustments have to be made before points are even at stake……..I don’t get at this level how the mindset isn’t the same?

      • alicat215 says:

        I just think its putting a band aid……..on a huge, gaping wound. Results will improve maybe slightly…..but the issues still remain and if not dealt with…..will bubble to the surface again at some point again this season, could be even this weekend. Its putting a paint job on structurally unsound building……which will eventually fall.

    • he is making appropriate moves. I agree that we can whinge and groan about FO decisions (Edu and Rais as expensive DPS, letting talented young guys go in favor of inconsistent veterans, etc.), or whether he really has any choice. I don’t expect him to say anything else about responsibility. The truth is he gets to chime in on whether he wants to sign a player, to line up the team and to make the subs, but that’s it. He did a better job with lineup last game, but the subs still need work. Still more improvement this time re the lineup (good luck, Rais) and hopefully he gets better at subs.

      • too funny……got to love the kool aid drinkers! Then have fun this weekend you sheep!

      • I am willing to give the manager the benefit of the doubt at the moment- just as many may be giving BR the benefit of doubt in Liverpool for marginal decision making. Things were not working and he is attempting to alter some things- should it have been done sooner probably does more need to be done yes. Tragically he is learning on the job. If he stayed the course what would we be saying. I destroy this organization for its ineptitude – but I believe in intellectual honesty as an imperative and have to give credit where and when it displays itself. Call me the Buzz Bissinger of PSP- I’m miserable and hard to please but often right. Today a bit more hopeful.

      • Dude, I know plenty of Reds that are getting to their whits end with BR. He’s made some very boneheaded decisions the past few weeks too. For example……playing in a three back against Arsenal (thanks dude!)….notice, the second half he switched to 4…..he knew he f#@ked up! What the hell is Joe Allen doing on the pitch in a match like that…..again, thanks BR! From a Gooner!

      • The Arsenal game was concerning for sure. I don’t quite get the Joe Allen love either.

      • As do I Joel…..I just hate people sugar coating everything…like its all good. I’m easy like Sunday morning……I find more humor in this than anything else. I am also a wee bit of a rabble rouser….trouble maker…..from my youth. Can’t you tell?……I’m feeling much better now though and have mellowed with age. I just try to keep it real….and sometimes our fellow supporters on PSP need to be reeled back into reality sometime….and as you know…..I’ve pretty much called this whole debacle back in January….honestly, two years ago! This all seems to me like the WWE version of footy…..and that is sadly, comical.

      • Joel, wouldn’t you agree that the best managers would have a scorched earth policy here? The guys we’re referring too all are egomaniacal, obnoxious….in a good way, narcisistic, and brazen. If they walked into a situation like Jim….what do you think Jose would say to Sak?

      • Without question 215. One of my favorite things about Jose Mourinho is how he handled Eden Hazard last season when everyone was looking to blow him for being so good and “the player” – as he called him – made some interesting public comments, it was Jose who said Eden has so much to learn and how his defense is a liability that hurts the team and that Eden is not yet, “ready to die for his teammates.” Powerful stuff. And Eden shut the fuck up. Jose Mourinho would never find himself in a position like we have at this club- cause we have zero wallet and zero panache. Say what you want about him he is a calculated clinical enigmatic genius manager- but he is where the money is. It would be nice to have someone with a third of his cache and a thousandth of Roman’s bank account. Maybe someday we will be a have instead of a have not.

      • Jose broke Eden like a young colt……that was awesome……and Hazard is now probably one of the top ten players on the planet………and still a kid……thats what we call……”a great working relationship”

      • you see……I really think there are Yankee Josies out there………..we just have to find them…..and they are not going to come from the old boys network……

      • Hazard is gifted- with feet, swivel and torque similar to Messi.

      • The Black Hand says:

        Hazard is a wonderful diver

      • alicat215 says:

        Similiar body types…..stocky, low center of gravity

    • Joel,
      I’m with you here. I do believe that Curtin is a good leader. Perhaps in this position a year or two sooner than ideal, but my gut tells me he’ll be a good manager given time and the right level of support. The support piece is where we need help. While the front office continues to baffle me (the Cruz loan being the latest, when we could really use depth), the fact that he was able to jettison MBolhi this early in the season does show that Curtin has some authority, within whatever financial guardrails ownership playing within. Could he make earlier substitutions? Yes. Is he costing them games? I don’t think so – not at this point. Players need to execute, and there have been some odd circumstances (ref decisions, ridiculous reds) that have really put their backs against the wall most games.

    • IDK I’m not on the Curtin bandwagon yet… I could have sworn he made an excuse about not having Maidana due to injury, yet he benched Maidana for a game that could have been won. THe stupid red cards I blame on Curtin too. Because they are uncharacteristic of the players who gained them he must be preaching physicality, but without the nuance necessary to dominate while staying on the field.

  7. Great One says:

    Man it would almost be easier if Curtin was a sarcastic prick or something. I love the guy. He seems pretty self aware. I just hope he starts to learn a little bit about coaching and substitutions and such. That’s all he should be worrying about, not GM moves.

    • alicat215 says:

      Part of me thinks he would actually be better off that way………all the great coaches here and globally have that characteristic if you haven’t noticed…….Bruce Arena totally comes off that way……Jose, Wenger, Van Gall, Rogers…all do to. Its the mindset that your in total control…..I’m the big dog…..and generally, you people…the supporters….the journos……have no clue what your talking about….so get out of my way….and let the big boys go about their work. Thats the mindset the best coaches have. And honestly, if the FO doesn’t give me the support I need………peace out, I’m not putting myself in this situation to fail.

      • Great One says:

        Yeah you’re spot on. This the the problem that’s created when your manager can’t have that attitude. Where else would he go?

      • just not take the job to begin with……I know its sounds crazy, but if anyone wanted a career in coaching….do you want this on your CV?

      • Your technical director of one of the leading youth academies in the country…..that looks 10x’s better on a CV than the ClusterF going on right now……wouldn’t you agree? I’m not trying to be a dick here,just keeping it real and in perspective. We make the same decisions about our careers all the time….you weigh the pros and cons…..

    • Well this I kind of agree with too. I love arrogance. Rubs some the wrong way makes me feel secure – unless it becomes over the top.

  8. fredricschwartz says:

    The team will rally around the change in goal, get their first win, have a little spurt of good fortune and then go back to being sub par which is all this team will ever be under the current regime.

  9. holy shit it really seems like Rais has no future with the club – I did not expect it

  10. Philly sports radio missed a pretty great story with lots of drama here. Would have been a nice break from the 24/7 Eagles QB coverage. On Monday, World Soccer Talk’s soccer morning fielded nearly half a dozen calls from disgruntled Union fans.

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