Press Conference / Union

Jim Curtin and the Union are prepping for a busy stretch of action

Photo: 215pix

Philadelphia Union are in the midst of a busy stretch of games leading up to the World Cup break.

Dating back to the Union’s 0-0 draw against New York Red Bulls on Saturday, the Union will have played five games in 14 days after the final whistle is blown against Toronto FC on Jun. 8

The Union are unbeaten over their last three matches, picking up seven of nine available points. For head coach Jim Curtin, the question is how to maintain their run of good form.

“I think you have to be smart in how you look at it. The most important game is Chicago [Fire] right now,” said Curtin during his weekly press conference at Talen Energy Stadium. “We have to focus on what’s the best lineup to win this game.”

For the coach, that means sticking with the midfield trio of Alejandro Bedoya, Haris Medunjanin, and Borek Dockal. Curtin said he wants to continue developing  the “chemistry” those three are building.

There is a practicality in focusing the attention on the Fire. Tomorrow’s visitors currently sit one point behind the Union as both teams fight to climb into that final playoff position. It’s also the most winnable of Philadelphia’s upcoming MLS action. They’ll enter the World Cup break after hosting Toronto FC. While the Reds may be struggling this season, they are still coming off the best season in MLS history.

Sandwiched between the home games against Chicago and Toronto is a trip to Atlanta. “It’s no secret that going to Atlanta is becoming one of the most challenging things to do in our league,” said Curtin. The Union could be better served being pragmatic, chasing three points against the Fire and rotating the squad on the road against the Supporters’ Shield leaders.

Curtin, though, did hint there, “maybe they’ll be a change or two” tomorrow night.

One candidate to return the starting 11 could be winger David Accam. The Ghanaian international, who was acquired from Chicago for $1.2 million, has lost his place in the lineup after a disappointing start to the season. Curtin said Accam will play a role against his former team, but did not give away what that role may be. After scoring 33 goals in three years with the Fire, maybe it will provide the spark for his first goal with the Union.

Curtin’s tidbits
  • The Union’s depth could be bolstered by players returning from injury. “[Richie] Marquez and [Joshua] Yaro were running on the side, still not cleared to play with contact. [Anthony] Fontana trained full, back available for selection.”
  • Yaro still hasn’t cleared concussion protocol.
  • Philadelphia will also play their first U.S. Open Cup match of the year next Tuesday against Richmond Kickers. Curtin, like in the past, said he’ll treat the competition with respect. “It’s five games to lift a cup.”
  • Curtin said the Union have added a younger player from the Steel roster for the game, but didn’t drop a name.
  • The Open Cup game will be an opportunity for guys like Derrick Jones and Jack Elliott. “Only 11 guys can start, so it’s always a challenge.”
  • One reason Jones has been missing, “Warren is playing better than Derrick.”
  • On Chicago forward Alan Gordon, “Probably the best guy off the bench our league has ever had,” said Curtin. “He has a knack for the dramatic.”
  • We all know the story. This is what Curtin had to say about Earnie Stewart. “I think the club has moved forward under his watch. A guy that is a great resource for me to pick his brain. Great to work with him.”

 

4 Comments

  1. The Truth says:

    Starting Accam makes sense to me. I’d prefer him starting up top but you know Curtin won’t break from his preferred striker body type (whether it’s CJ or Corey). Jim sure didn’t waste any time thinking about Earnie’s departure, eh? Maybe the next guy won’t be so satisfied with Curtin’s lack of innovation.

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