Press Conference

Transcript and video: JIm Curtin’s weekly press conference

Note: Questions have been paraphrased.

Opening statement

Alright. First and foremost, congratulations to Auston Trusty. A very proud moment for the club; personally very proud, as well, to see him come up through the Union Academy, and play for Bethlehem, and make his way all the way to the first team. Auston’s a very strong center back, has a lot of good qualities: left footed, great in the air, big, strong — obviously, very young — a big part of our national team setup. Very happy for him, a great day. We want to be known as a club that brings players from the Philadelphia area through to the first team. So, with him and Derrick [Jones] now, that has been a good month, and these guys are guys that we have high hopes for, to not only just fill out the roster, but to contribute. So, again, happy for Auston.

Reflecting back to DC, as you watch the tape — I’ve watched it 15 times now — and the first half was not us, we were poor. In the second half, good response, pushed the game, got our second goal, and unable to close it out. Talked through a lot of film, little things we could’ve done better finding that balance, whether it’s keeping possession to kill the game off instead of just kicking balls, [or] when we do go to clear balls making good contact and putting the ball up the field in a spot where we can regroup and catch our breath. End of MLS games get crazy, they throw numbers forward, and we need to deal with it better. We expect to go on the road to New England now and be in the same situation, look to close out three points on the road.

What are your first memories of Auston Trusty when you coached him with the Union Juniors?

So, Auston — I probably had him as a 10 year old, a 9 or 10 year old — was skinny, lanky, still growing into his body at the time. I think he’s a great lesson for kids in that maybe the best kids that are at age 9, 10, 11, 12, sometimes even 15, 16, aren’t necessarily the ones that are the best in the most important times when it’s time to go to university or turn professional. So, I would call him as a late bloomer towards the middle or bottom part of that group that we had that was very talented. But, through hard work, through asking questions, pushing himself in the right way, has a great family behind him, he really blossomed. Stuck with it in the tough times like every pro has to, and now he gets his reward. So, special. You know, I had him at such a young age, too, it was he didn’t even really have a position and it was just kind of, he was just a good player. And now, to see him grow in the center back position is very nice to watch. He’s done very well in the [Bethlehem] Steel games. He has things to work on, and things to learn and grow, but he’s a kid that’s eager to listen, wants to get better. Made a tough decision because, you know, it was his life-long dream to go to University of North Carolina. That’s not an easy thing for a 17 year old to do, to make that phone call and decide, and choose, the Philadelphia Union. We know he made the right decision. We’re happy for him, and now the hard work begins. I think it’s been hard, obviously, for him up to this point but it gets even harder now having to deal with some of the top strikers in our league. But, very happy for Auston.

What’s Alejandro Bedoya’s status for Saturday’s road game in New England?

He’ll be a part of the group, that’s for sure. When you bring in a quality player like that, we’re not going to ease him into it. He’s in good shape, he’s a fit guy, takes care of his body very well. He’s getting to know the team; it was very good to have him out there today. Connects very well with our group; I think him and Barnetta compliment each other very well, they’re comfortable on the ball. It’s still going to be a process getting acclimated to the group but he’s picking up things very fast and brings a real presence to our locker room and on the field, too. So, excited to have him a part of the group and, as a coach, to get a player of his quality is special and that’s what you want as a head coach, to have these top players.

On the injury to Brian Carroll

It’s a torn plantar fasciitis. I’ll pronounce it wrong but, yeah, it’s a three to six week injury. Knowing BC, knowing his body, and how he recovers, I think he’ll be back on the shorter end of it. It’s something he’s managed for a long time now, and dealt with, and it just kind of, for lack of a better word, popped in the game and he knew right away that that was going to be it. It becomes, after he gets the rest — that’s all you can really do for it, there’s no surgery or anything like that — it just becomes a matter of what you can tolerate pain wise, and he’s managed it before in his career. But, obviously, disappointing to lose him because he’s been playing so well for us. So, very tough loss.

Will Trusty still be getting minutes with Bethlehem Steel?

He’ll still get games, he’ll get his 90 minute games at Bethlehem. I think that’s the best way to learn. You’ve seen it now with several of our players, getting minutes there is critical. Things can happen quickly in the league, though, you know? You’re always an injury or two away from getting your chance and your debut. I look to Derrick Jones as well in the same boat where you never know how quickly you could be called upon. And, next thing you know, you’re thrown out there and you do well and you run with it. That’s how careers start. I think everybody has some kind of a story like that, that gets their first chance and grabs ahold of it and don’t let it go.

Auston will train with us every day. I think that’s incredibly valuable, to deal with CJ Sapong day in and day out, Chris Pontius, to defend those guys gets you ready, get’s you battle tested, and then, hopefully, the Bethlehem games become easier for him and the progression is then to make the jump to the first team. But he’s not far off at all.

On how Brian Carroll’s role will be covered while he recovers from injury

It’s difficult to lose Brian Carroll, his experience, his presence on the field, it’s tough to lose. Warren [Creavalle] is a guy who has played the 6 for us a bunch this year, can do it. And then just out of emergency if there is an injury to Warren, you have to think about…Keegan [Rosenberry] crossed my mind also because he’s played in that spot before. Ken [Tribbett] has done it at college, can break up a play. Derrick [Jones] I see more as a No. 8. Mo [Edu] is inching closer and closer. So, you have a lot of variables going into it but it was great to see Ken in that spot today [in training]. We warned him in the event of an emergency if we have to put him there, we didn’t want it to be for the first time against New England when you’re dealing with Lee Nguyen. So, we wanted it to be with a group of the top players and just to get used to it as quickly as possible. It’s a bit of a cram session, for sure, but at the same time, in a pinch he has a lot of assets and qualities that suit that position.

Are you comfortable with putting Maurice Edu on a timeline yet for his return?

We’ve discussed it internally. Again, Mo’s frustrated, he wants to be just unleashed and let go and play. I think it’s not far off before he’s playing some minutes with Bethlehem, I think that that’s close. I think that needs to happen as the first step. I think he’s been in training sessions that are as intense and high paced as those games are, and he’s held up very well, so there’s a lot of positives right now. To put an exact week on it? I’ve learned with this specific injury it’s not a good thing to do because you’re going to get your hopes crushed. No. So, it’s still…it’s towards the end. I think the next step, though, is playing minutes with Bethlehem, and that will be a big step to see how his body responds to that. And if training is any indication, it’s going to respond well. And then we start to think about minutes for us, which is a good thing to have.

How close is Edu to seeing minutes with Bethlehem?

It’s close. We’ll see. I think it’s probably a little soon but, again, we’ll have a meeting with the medical staff after the second session today and we’ll kind of see how he responds, and it’s not out of the question.

On Charlie Davies facing his former club New England Revolution on Saturday

It’s a strange feeling when you walk into that opposing locker room for the first time after having been there and contributed like he did for them. He’s up for it. I think he’s excited by it. Again, I told Charlie the same thing I told Alejandro: There’s zero pressure on you. Don’t feel that you have to have any pressure to score this many goals or anything like that. The pressure is on the players and myself to get him acclimated as quickly as possible, and Charlie just needs to do what Charlie does, and that’s get on the end of crosses, to be a good target for us, to be a threat to get in behind. He’ll get service with this group, I’m confident in that. Going to Ne England, though, he’ll have a little extra in it, I think. So, yeah, he spent some very good years there, he enjoyed his time there, but now he’s wearing a different shirt, and he’s excited by that and wants to show us, and show New England. So, again, It’s a special opportunity for him, and one that he’s really relishing and is excited for.

Josh Yaro hasn’t stared at right center back for a few weeks. Where are you now with that position?

Right now, we look at it each and every day. I love to get consistency there, and it is fair to say along the back line there hasn’t been a hundred percent grabbing ahold of it and running with it like you’d like to see. There’s always going to be mistakes at that position, It’s a tough spot. I think you can always be accountable on every goal, which is hard. There’s always something a center back can do to prevent a goal. Two good young center backs [in Yaro and Tribbett], still have a decision to make this week on the turf with Kei Kamara. We faced them in New England and I thought Richie and Ken did a good job with them. But, there’s still things that the staff is weighing, and we’ll still have discussions.

Josh has been excellent with us when he’s been called upon; Ken has had some really good games, as well. Had good moments in the DC game, too, but did have a mistake, you know? On the first goal he plays the ball that gets stripped. We talked about it today: Instead of compounding it and being over aggressive to win the ball, just drop with Richie there, stay together, and I think [Taylor] Kemp probably puts his foot on the ball and plays backwards, or plays wide, plays safe. By [Tribbett] over committing in that spot [Kemp] kind of has like an, “Oh, I guess I’ll keep going” moment, and he hits a good shot, he hits a heavy ball — so they made us pay. Again, mistakes are going to happen; it’s how you respond to them. I think Ken will bounce back, whether that’s as a starter or as a reserve.

On New England

We know them well. Again, they played last night so we got to get more tape on them. Hopefully, it took a little bit out of their legs in the Open Cup game last night. A tough team to defend against with Kei up there, and [Diego] Fagundez, and [Kelyn] Rowe, and [Lee] Nguyen; kind of all have the freedom to pop up all over the field. So, you need to be on the same page defensively.

I think our mentality in DC was a good one, it was strong up until the last three minutes of the game. We broke down the film again today with the group. We give up more chances in the final four minutes than we do in the whole game. And, it was almost contagious where, if you remember the play, where Warren and [Andre] Blake arrive at the ball at the same time, and it’s in between; they mishandle it, it bounces out and rolls out for a corner. It was almost at that moment where now it became contagious where there was a mistake, or a mis-clearance, and it just got a little frantic. So, in those tough moments, who are the guys that can recognize that, “Hey, now is the time that we all need to be on the same page.” We need to have good contact on all of our clearances. We need to be together; when we step, we step together [so] our backline isn’t disjointed, and recognizing those moments. It’s the hardest thing to do, winning on the road. So, we need to tighten it up, for sure.

I think we played well enough to get three points, I think the group feels that way, and now we have to go out and do it. That’s the only way you get the confidence back on the road is to go out and execute and maybe win an ugly 1-0 game where Andre makes some saves, we make some big blocks at the end, and we get through it. That’s the way the confidence gets going again. We still have a very good team, we have a lot of points in the bag. We know we need more, and we know we need to do a better job, especially on the road.

On the need to improve communication on the back line

All the center backs have to talk more. I think you need to be a you know what for 90 minutes and recognize that in the tough moments that I’ve described, in those last four or five minutes, nothing you say is personal. You can scream at a guy, you can MF a guy: it is not personal — you shake hands after the game. But in that moment, when it’s dangerous, when the intensity and alertness has to be at the highest, you need to be the bad guy. And, again, what goes on between the lines for 90 minutes is not personal. Again, there’s no better feeling than walking into a locker room after a game with three points on the road. It’s a hard thing to recreate, it’s something that we need to get better at. And, again, you shake hands afterwards and you laugh and you smile about it after, but in those moments we need to be a little more ruthless with each other, holding [each other] accountable.

On Derrick Jones leaving training early

He just has a little bit of a groin issue that he started to feel today. Again, I think it’s gotten ramped up another level for him. Maybe just pushed a little too hard and just felt something and we wanted to be smart with it. We’ll have him get some treatment this afternoon, he’ll miss the second session. I don’t think it’s anything serious, though.

On Auston Trusty accelerating his development

We touched on that. When I had him when he was ten years old he wasn’t the best of the group, he was probably towards the middle or bottom. But, he’s a great example for young players: You never know in your pathway when that development is going to really kick in and get sped up. He’s always had a good mentality, he’s from a great family, and I think he learned a lot and he took it in quickly. And, next thing you know, you’re getting calls — he’s doing well in the academy — next thing you know you get called into the US National Team and that setup. You realize you belong there. You get called into first team training, you realize you can do that. You play for Bethlehem, you have some really good moments, you have some learning moments, too.

But, it did happen fast for Auston. And, again, he’s a lesson in that sometimes it doesn’t click until your 16, 17 years old, you know? The kids who get cut from their state team, or high school team, sometimes it sparks a hunger in them that they want it, and they want it even more. So, I’m a big fan of the late bloomers because that means there’s a heck of a lot more potential in there, they haven’t been told they’re the best their whole life. It’s hard for them in moments. And, again, to see him grow and evolve as a center back, he wants it, that is clear, and I think the uniqueness of a kid who’s 6’3″, 6’4″ growing into his body still, a great left foot, which is hard to find, a left-footed center back — we were really happy that he chose to sign with us. There was a lot of interest overseas — I will not hold back on that — a lot, and he chose us over that and pursuing his dream at UNC.

So, happy to have him on board and, again, you are right, his process was an accelerated one but all the kids out there, it happens at a different time, for different reasons, for everyone. So, continue to push, even in the hardest moments — especially when no one’s watching. Put the stupid iPads down and get out and play with your brothers and sisters, and get better.


  1. Old Soccer Coach says:

    Brian Carroll being out 3-6 weeks with a torn plantar fascia (assuming that is the proper Latin singular form) is bad news.
    A position at which it was assumed we had a surfeit of depth last March is now down to one.
    That Ken Tribbett practiced there this morning was interesting indeed.

    • hearing Keegan’s name get thrown in there was interesting. I don’t really want to move him off that right side, but he’s got the passing and vision to play it. If you told me we had solid backups at the outside back spots i’d be all over this move.

    • If it’s a micro tear it will be 6 weeks. If it’s anything more, he’s done. That 3 week stuff is BS. But glad to hear Curtin knows BC’s body that well.


      So Creavalle/Ale will be challenged to fend off that attack and start us forward. Could be a very open free flowing game. 2-4 loss.

  2. Put the stupid iPads down and get out and play. Love it.
    Also, not to read into it, but sounds like no Mo’ until at least September.

    • I am getting the feeling it will be no Mo at all period for the season. At this rate what is the point in bringing him on. The team is spiraling downward more players are getting injured yes they could still make the playoffs, but might just be better to look towards next year and personally I say empty that Edu contract elsewhere he’s just not disciplined enough to be on this team.

      • I don’t know what it is but I disagree with almost everything you say always.

      • Eh, it happens as these are opinions, but I really think outside of Edu learning to play CB and becoming a disciplined CB I don’t see much value in him. He is not stellar on the ball, he never seems to cut out passing lanes quite like a 6 should, he tries to do to much when he could just play simple. I just think his $700,000 DP salary can be better spent.

  3. Lucky Striker says:

    first half after first half…….

    U been so poor for so long I’m pretty sure it is U.

  4. “Like Mo, he’s a fast healer. Like Mo, we expect him back this past June.”

  5. I agree about Edu. I’ve never been impressed. He is often injured and he probably leads the team in point blank misses the past few seasons.

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