Press Conference

Focus on Fafa, building on positives at Curtin’s presser

Photo: Paul Rudderow

“If we had scored, Colorado had to come out and open up,” Jim Curtin said in his press conference Wednesday afternoon.

At halftime, the Union coach continued, the team talked about protecting the goal on dead balls since the Rapids were creating very little from open play.

Lo and behold…

But, Curtin emphasized, there were also quite a few positives to take away from the match.

“In the run of play, we’re still difficult to break down,” he noted. “When the stats come back… we’re in the same category as the Columbuses, NYCs, and Torontos as far as passing out of the back. That tells you those guys are doing a pretty good job. Now we need the whole group to have confidence in attack going forward.”

Curtin singled out Keegan Rosenberry’s performance, pointing to the right back’s continued growth from the previous match against Columbus. “I thought Keegan played well against Columbus and he was better in this game. He took a bit of a leadership role… this is the Keegan Rosenberry that I know, and he’s doing an incredible job for us.”

Fafa Picault’s three match suspension has ended, and the winger will likely feature in some capacity against San Jose this weekend.

“Nothing quite recreates the reality of the 90 minutes,” Curtin said. “He’s itching to go, and has fresh legs. He knows how to manage getting through the first half of the game, and then it’s about recovering and being ready to go again.”

Asked about how Picault has handled his suspension, Curtin described the difficulty keeping a player involved when he can’t play games — even for Bethlehem Steel — while he serves his time.

“You don’t quite feel part of the group. You want to help but you can’t. You feel a little bit like you’re on the outside. I never got suspended three games, but it’s the injury feeling where you want to be there helping the guys but you can’t.”

Yet it’s clear that Picault gives Curtin and the Union another card to play against San Jose. “Fafa is a hard one to describe. The easiest way to describe him is he’s a playmaker: Fafa makes plays. He arrives in the box, sets up a teammate. He’s like adding a speed threat in a wide receiver, it opens spots for other guys.

“Speed creates space. It’s important in this game for CJ [Sapong] to not just come back to get the ball at his feet, but also run into the channels. When [Borek] Dockal gets the ball, our tendency is to come narrow, but we need our guys to stay wide. That forces defenders to make a decision. We worked a lot on transition moments today, it’s the hardest thing to do in soccer. We’re improving, we’ve worked on it for several weeks now.”

Curtin’s tidbits

  • On Auston Trusty. “I can’t speak highly enough about Auston. I know a lot of leagues in the world scout us, and I know he’s a guy that’s going to jump off the page to a lot of scouts. He’s 6’4″, wins everything in the air, and his passing has improved.”
  • On Matt Real’s debut. “Matt played a safe game. We’re going to encourage him to take more risks going forward.”
  • On San Jose’s play under new coach Mikael Stahre. “He’s brave. They high press, they want to play the game on their terms. They have new center backs, other players we’re familiar with. But they have different roles, a new system, a new style… they have big, strong center backs, and big strong holding midfielders.”
  • On homegrown center back Mark McKenzie’s development in training. “Mark McKenzie gets better in training every day. He’s very cerebral in how he goes about his business.”
  • Injury updates. “Fabinho and Richie [Marquez] are in good spirits, feeling good. There’s always that initial, ‘I’ll be back in a couple of weeks,’ but they’ll hit a little bit of a lull. Josh Yaro is just managing the groin issue.”


  1. The Truth says:

    How is Herbers above Epps on the depth chart?

    • I’m disappointed we didn’t see Epps out there for at least one of the games that Fafa was out.
      I would put Herbers at #5 right now behind Fafa, Ilsinho, Epps & Burke (maybe even Ayuk?).
      …why do we have so many right wingers?

      • John Ling says:

        Well, we don’t. Herbers and Burke are forwards who we play at wing because it’s against league rules to let Sapong have any rest, ever.

      • The Truth says:

        Hahaha, Mr. Ling that was rich.

  2. “When [Borek] Dockal gets the ball, our tendency is to come narrow,”
    Let me fix that for you Jim – it’s Herbers’ tendency to come narrow. Accam stayed wide and was available out there for most of the game. We were missing somewhat of a link for him due to Real not pushing up high enough, and Dockal/Bedoya/Herbers all hovering together on the right side.
    And that’s without Herbers’ touches shown…

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