Press Conference

Notes from Jim Curtin’s weekly press conference

Photo: Paul Rudderow

As thunderstorms rolled over Talen Energy Stadium on Wednesday afternoon, Jim Curtin met with the media to discuss his struggling team.

Ahead of the Union’s match against FC Dallas on Saturday, Curtin discussed playoffs, transfer rumors, injuries, his second-year players, the MLS All-Star Game, and more.

Here’s a summary of Curtin’s comments.

  • Curtin began by observing that the team “didn’t do a good enough job making it a hard night” on Saturday against the Revolution. The manager expressed his frustration with the team’s form on the road, calling it “a disappointment” and “not good enough.” Despite the team’s fragile place in the table, Curtin reiterated that “teams make late runs in this league,” and suggested that a good run of form was still possible for the Union.
  • Goalkeeper Andre Blake is unlikely to play on Saturday night. Though Curtin initially said he was “hopeful” the keeper would return from a hand injury suffered in the Gold Cup, he went on to reveal that Blake’s stitches are still in. The team does not want Blake in a situation where the hand laceration does not heal.
  • As for the team’s other injured players, Fabian Herbers remains a long-term absence with a sports hernia, while Oguchi Onyewu has missed two practices this week with a groin injury.
  • The team’s longest-term absentee, Maurice Edu, might feature for Bethlehem Steel this weekend. A meeting later today will determine whether the veteran midfielder is ready to return to the pitch, ten months after breaking his ankle in training and nearly two years after his last appearance for the Union first team.
  • Rumors linked the Union to Argentine midfielder Nicolas Martinez on Tuesday night, but Curtin offered no clarity on Wednesday. While admitting that he was “familiar with the player,” and that the Union were always looking for ways to improve the club, the manager stated that he would not comment on Martinez, who is currently property of Greek club Olympiacos.
  • Though many Union fans are clamoring to see Keegan Rosenberry return to the pitch, don’t expect that anytime soon. Curtin said that an opportunity to play “is earned in training each and every day,” implying that Rosenberry has yet to do enough there to displace Ray Gaddis.
  • PSP followed up by asking about playing time for Rosenberry, Josh Yaro, and Fabian Herbers — the excellent 2016 draft class that has struggled to make an impact this year. Curtin noted that Rosenberry had a dip in form — “something that happens in every young player’s career” — and that the right back is still “going to be a big part of the future of the club.” The manager characterized Yaro as still in “week 3 or 4 of preseason,” which is a strange characterization given that Yaro’s first appearance of the season came two full months ago against NYC FC. Herbers, meanwhile, has just been unlucky with injuries. “All three guys have bright futures in the league,” and Curtin continues to work with them in practice every week.
  • Curtin again brushed aside questions about whether there’s discord in the locker room following a series of on-field incidents in July. He did offer the interesting observation that Fafa Picault could “sometimes take criticism better in terms of not having the last word.”
  • The team has been looking at ways to get Chris Pontius more involved in the offense. Curtin suggested that “he needs to get that first [goal] to go in.”
  • Curtin views the MLS All-Star Game, set to be played against Real Madrid in Chicago this evening, as “still a good advertisement for the league,” but thinks it might be better for the league to switch to an East vs. West format rather than continuing to bring in European clubs as the opponent.

14 Comments

  1. “Curtin suggested that “he needs to get that first [goal] to go in.””

    … a depressing statement when the season is closer to being over than just starting.

    • I’m not sure all his comments weren’t depressing. Actually I think he just put the nail in the coffin for me.

  2. pragmatist says:

    I know everyone is tired of the Edu storyline, but from a personal perspective, I hope he gets back on the field. I’d love to see a guy fight back from such frustrating injuries and play again.
    .
    I don’t know what he will offer, or if it will be in Philly, but I’ll root for him either way. (Well, unless he’s playing for someone else against us, then all bets are off!)

  3. el Pachyderm says:

    Been saying it for months… Keegan is not responding. Then someone comments about needing a shower cause I call the player out.
    .

    • Reading body language, Keegan looked complacent and taking it for granted in limited action this year. Totally different from the hard worker, out to prove himself player from last year. Think it’s the way of the young generation. Hope I’m wrong. I refuse to start a Twitter, but what you said he was tweeting about does not surprise me.

      • el Pachyderm says:

        He is a walking embodiment of coddled American player IMO that doesn’t have the foggiest notion of competition, football is life— manifesto.
        .
        This is why I brought up Tweets about NBA finals and Jordan Spieth from PGA tournaments most recently The Open (Spieth who is an absolute grinder) which clearly Keegan is not…. otherwise HE would BE playing.
        .
        … it’s the player needs to be called out not me for doing it.. damn manager has said as much.

      • Can’t agree more.

        Sidenote,I thought Spieth was gonna fall apart after that tee ball, boy was I wrong. I wanted Kuuuch to get his 1st, but Jordan really deserved that trophy.

      • Zizouisgod says:

        I’m laughing at the notion of judging a player’s commitment to his profession based upon what he writes on Twitter.

        So if he posted some videos of him training with #thestruggleisreal or #grinding, you would be satisfied and feel that he was competing hard enough? That’s a load of nonsense.

      • el Pachyderm says:

        I stand by the comment 100%, yes.
        .
        …if you’d like me to expound on why I’d be glad to.
        .
        Otherwise we can agree to disagree regarding the RB and why he isn’t playing as it relates to the managers comment, and how Twitter posts appear to me to corroborate the managers point.

      • Zizouisgod says:

        There are many reasons why Rosenberry is not playing and in my opinion, his Twitter feed is not one of them. However, I’m not at training or in the locker room so I can only judge what I see on the pitch.

        Much of it has to do with the team adjusting its style of play with the addition of several new players (Medujanin, Oneywu, Elliott, Picault, etc.) which changed the responsibilities of his position as well as the role of the player in front of him on the right. With these changes, Rosenberry needed to adapt his game in order to play and because he wasn’t with the team for a good portion of training camp, he got a late start in this process. This lead to his subsequent poor early season performances and allowed Gaddis to take his spot.

        Because of these changes, a few other Union players have found themselves in entirely new roles (Pontius) or have just been relegated to the bench or Steel (Fabinho, Marquez, Yaro, Creavalle, etc.). While some of those guys are just not good enough to be a MLS starter IMHO, they all played significant roles on a team that made the playoffs last year.

        Rosenberry may yet find his way out of this, but it has to be somewhat confusing & frustrating to him considering how he played every minute of every MLS match for the Union last year. And it’s very hard to show the manager what you can do without seeing any real match action week to week, either with the Union or Steel. Training, while important, just isn’t the same as playing in a match.

        One thing that is pure speculation on my part is that Rosenberry got a nice salary increase this season with his base increasing to $104.5k vs $62.5k (67% increase!). Perhaps that went to his head and made him think that he arrived. Who really knows?

      • el Pachyderm says:

        Excellent argument as usual sir. Will be thoughtful over it.

      • Zizouisgod says:

        Thank you, Pachy. I hope that he can regain his mojo as he’s a player who is comfortable on the ball and you can never have too many of them.

  4. If Maurice Edu were to go to Ottawa, they are a big tough physical side.
    .
    Check @BSteelFC on twitter about 6:45 pm Saturday night. If he’s there, he’ll start. I’d be amazed if he goes more than 30 minutes.
    .
    Coach Burke gave no hints at it earlier today, but no one asked. He is expecting Chambers to play in the midfield, and Chambers is for whom Edu appeared in his first rehab last season, I think, either Chambers or Bolu Akinyode.

  5. Matt Custer says:

    Martinez? Hope he’s a creator cuz he doesn’t seem to bag many onions. Looks like another 300k moneyball wunder29yearold, coming on loan.

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