Concacaf Champions Cup / Injury Update / Press Conference / Union

Notes and quotes from the Pachuca pre-game press conference – Blake will be back

At Monday’s CONCACAF Champions Cup pre-game press conference, Head Coach Jim Curtin provided some updates to injured players and Mikael Uhre spoke about the challenge of so many games in such a short period.

First, Curtin stated that Andre Blake would be back between the posts for tomorrow’s game against Pachuca. At the same time he took the opportunity to praise Oliver Semmle’s play, saying “I think Oliver did a great job in his [Blake’s] absence. I think we learned a lot about Oliver… but obviously it’s great to have the best goalkeeper in our league back behind us now.”

José Martínez is also fully fit and available for selection for tomorrow’s match. Subbing Martínez off at half-time of the Sporting KC game on Saturday was precautionary, as “[he] didn’t feel great so we we made an adjustment … but he’ll be back and available for selection [for the Pachuca match].

Finally, it sounds like Julián Carranza could feature tomorrow, but the situation is iffy. Curtin said “Julian is gonna be close, it’ll be kind of a game time decision.” The head coach stressed the balance of playing at home against a high-quality team in Pachuca against the risk of further injury. Carranza will be evaluated after today’s workout and a decision will be made tomorrow. Should Carranza not be fit, “[W]e’ll have a plan together if he’s unable to go – if he does play great – he’s a great goal scorer.”

Curtin was also asked about Tai Baribo and why he has not seen any minutes even with the number of matches played and extensive player rotation. He stressed that Baribo was hampered by an injury during the preseason, adding that Baribo hasn’t had much time recently taking reps with the first team because of the lack of training between the bi-weekly matches. Curtin continued “every striker looks better when Kai Wagner’s serving the balls or Nate Harriel is getting to the end line and cutting balls back and he hasn’t had many of those reps because he had an injury in preseason where he missed almost 3 weeks.” “I think we’ll have a good response from Tai to fight his way up that depth chart.” Perhaps we will see Baribo soon, as the Union are going to need help from just about everyone with another pair of Tuesday – Saturday fixtures coming up.

Mikael Uhre was asked about the challenge of maintaining fitness with so many games and little mid-week training. “Obviously coming from Europe, you had to get a little bit used to all the travel over here but I feel like, yeah, you get used to playing all the games all the time. It’s what we’re playing for as players. We want to play as many games as possible – it’s the fun part”. Uhre refused to use the number of fixtures as an excuse for fitness or results, saying “[i]t’s going to be tough and it’s going to be be hard…. This early in the season that definitely can’t be an excuse because we just started, so it’s just nice being back playing this many games.” The sense from Uhre is that he is up for the challenge of another 3 games in 8 days.





  1. Thanks for the notes, Chris.
    Great to see Blake back. Semmle did his job well but the defense will definitely stabilize with Blake back in goal.
    I hope what Curtin is saying about baribo is true, that he just has poor fitness and needs to regain it because I really want him to succeed at the club.

    • Chris Turk says:

      My impression, reading between the lines, is that he just hasn’t shown in enough in practice to get on the field.

  2. OneManWolfpack says:

    I think Curtin is covering a bit for Baribo. I would like to see him get a run out like Anderson has, over a few games, to make an honest assessment… not that what I think really matters. We just haven’t really seen Baribo play, to know if he’s any good or not. I don’t want to write the guy off, and I know Tanner has a great track record, but he’s missed too. It needs to be determined if Baribo can play by the summer. If not, the Union need to acquire a guy – especially if Carranza is sold.

    • Chris Turk says:

      He probably is covering for him… but he also clearly favors Anderson at this point. Baribo apparently needs to prove in practice that he’s deserving of a run out, and so far Anderson is in front (and Donovan, who got the start).

  3. Chris Turk says:

    As an update – Carranza did not practice yesterday, so it is probably very iffy that he plays tonight. He may not even be on the bench.

  4. Chris, thanks again. There sure does seem something more to this than he was out. Is it another Torres situation where he doesn’t practice hard? Is he not good enough? Don’t know. What i do know is that if Marcus plays like he did against Saprissa in the first game, we are wasting our time talking about Tai. I see huge upside for Marcus. Excellent hold up play and good ball skills and speed. I am guessing he starts tonight. I see Donovan more as a sub so when the other team gets tired, his work rate, pace, and excellence in holdup play and headers makes a difference.

    • McMohansky says:

      We’ve seen more from Anderson in two partial appearances this year than we did from Tai in all his partial appearances last season.
      I had high hopes but something doesn’t seem there with him.

      • Chris Turk says:

        I’m not sure if it is Baribo is making the effort in practice or if the others just look better. And yes, in his two appearances, Anderson has made some good runs; had a nice header go just wide…
        I agree with Frank and would not be surprised to see Anderson starting up front with Uhre.

  5. Was there any comment on missing 2 of the 3 starting (rotating) center backs?

    • Chris Turk says:

      There was not. That was covered quite a bit in earlier press conferences. Curtin did not hint as to whether Harriel would start as a CB or if Makhanya would get a start. I’m leaning towards Harriel.

      • Thanks for the reply. Site has been very buggy for me. Might see my question pop up again as my comment wasn’t showing

  6. No comment on missing 2 center backs?

  7. Very much appreciate your covering the press conferences! It is most helpful.
    I offer one comment. It happens to bear on Jim Curtin’s and your point about Tai Baribo and getting reps in practice. The Union will have played eight games in 26 days by the 16th of March. The are no breaks between the “3 games in 8 days” stretches. It is an unceasing flow. the sequence is Play, Recover, Practice Lightly, and Play.
    And I have made no allowance for travel in the sequence. Probably a direct charter from San Jose, Costa Rica to (I assume) Wilmington, DE is 6 1/2 hours in the air. Pachuca will be something like 5 hours I am guessing. (Neither has any commercial nonstops according to Google Flights).
    Baribo having no chance to show well enough in practice to break into the first group is highly credible when you look at the details. They don’t get a full seven days off until after they go to Austin.

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