Press Conference / Union

Post-Game Presser: Curtin talks early goals, silly mistakes, and summer tournaments

Photo: Ryan Griffith

The following contains the transcript of the post-game press conference following the 1-2 home loss versus New York City FC. Head Coach Jim Curtin fielded questions regarding: 


  1. Which player spoke the most at halftime;
  2. Lack of attacking subs;
  3. Specific reasons the team is underperforming;
  4. Reaction to summer tournament departures; 
  5. Trend of conceding early;
  6. Lowe update plus Uhre and Harriel performance;
  7. Jesus Bueno;
  8. David Vazquez;
  9. 2nd goal;
  10.  Scouting and watching every game


Opening Statement: “It hurts our fans, it hurts our coaches, it hurts our players, there’s no moral victories in this thing. Got in at halftime after conceding another stupid goal at the end of the half where we commit a foul that is unnecessary and concede a goal that you’d see at a U-12 level, which hurts, but at least had a healthy discussion at halftime with the guys where I didn’t speak- I let them speak. I think a lot of good things were said, and a good response from the group. Again, it still hurts. No excuses on losing at home, we should never lose at home in this fashion but again the guys fight till the end. We have to find a way to get out of this. We’re the only people that are going to get us out of it. The people in that locker room, the coaches, the players, I think they recognize that and like we’ve said before it’s it’s the same group, and that’s what was said at halftime, that they’ve shown they can beat anybody and we’re the only ones that can dig us out of this now.”


  1. (Unintelligible, best guess) “Which player spoke the most in the locker room at halftime?”      


“Surprisingly, Julian spoke the most, which was great. I was really impressed by what he had to say because it was all right, accurate, truth and it was long. So, it’s good to see from a young striker, a kid that plays with passion that wants to win everything, wants to win every tackle. Proud of him for speaking in the way he did and that helps. Having said that, we lost, so everyone in there is still pissed. The margins are tight guys, you’ve told you’ve heard me talk about this for years, our margins are razor thin and right now we have to find a way to to fight through things. We are in every game, that is for sure, to the very final offsides call where the goal gets called back, but this group continues to fight. It hurts right now, but like I said the only people that will get us out of it will be us.”


      2. “Down the stretch you make three substitutions leave both forwards in and they’re obviously your best two forwards, at a certain point over a long period of time when the substitutions are what they are we on this side of the ledger might worry if maybe you don’t trust some of your attacking substitutes enough to put them out there in a big moment like that would what your thoughts be?”   


“Yeah look, the subs at the end I know when they happen people see them as defensive but we asked Olivier to go almost as like a right winger didn’t, really get as forward as we had hoped. Jose as well we told him to take some risk in there and join the attack for cutbacks. At that point, John, we were thinking Mikael was having a good game, Julian was having a good game, Danny was I thought having a decent game balls weren’t bouncing to him in the box. So, we went with those three attackers staying on the field. Could we have thrown another striker in and then taken off a defender? For sure, maybe, but I thought our structure was good, we were getting chances and just didn’t finish.”


      3. “When it comes to this entire losing run it seems almost like you said in the past where you create your own luck and stuff like that how hard is it for you to see all the simple errors, the chances, and not being able to kind of pinpoint what exactly is going wrong and not have a fix for it?” 


“Yeah so look, it’s the first losing streak we’ve had in roughly six years. It’s unique to all of us, we’re trying to find solutions too. We’re going to learn a lot about ourselves internally, externally. We’re going to learn a lot about ourselves in the coming weeks. Because we know we’re close but in Pro Sports close doesn’t mean… anything. Almost cursed there. But close doesn’t mean anything. The margins are tight in every game. There’s no excuse to lose as many games at home as we have. It shouldn’t happen, it hasn’t happened. We’re looking for the solutions too and we’ll look internally because that’s what the only place it gets fixed. We have to be better as a team. We talk about it all week, the importance of the start, and we concede a minute and a half into a game at home again. I understand things can happen, a bounce can not go your way, but we weren’t stable enough to start the game. Then right away now, emotionally, energy wise it gets deflated, as it should, the guys lose confidence. We have a lot of good players, a lot of good players that are playing good right now too which is crazy, in a really tough stretch. If you go through the names you guys can do the exercise there’s a lot of guys that are having decent seasons and again played good tonight, but they’d trade all of that for an ugly win and and we have to find that now, Joe.” 

       4. “Close, what’s also close is a lot of departures for key players. Do you feel the pressure of that? You mentioned at the start of the season, you want to collect all these points before June, because you know these absences are happening. Does it feel like these next few games are pressure packed because of the form and the departures that are coming?” 


“Of course yeah we’re aware of that for sure there’s going to be guys going out. Sometimes this group plays best, Portland has an example, when maybe the backs are against the wall and you least expect it. Hopefully, we get a reaction from guys but it is a reality. A lot of guys are going to be going away with their national team. It’s not something that’s going to be- I don’t know if you guys have seen where the transfer window falls this year. It falls in the same spot but where our schedule is- we’ll have nine games left by the time anything can really shake up, so that’s why when I say it’s going to be us and only us, nothing’s going to change. So, we recognize that. You know the guys that play the bulk of the minutes. I have full confidence that they can turn this around and get results. That sounds cliché at this point, you guys are sick of me saying it and I’m sick of saying it.”


      5. “Do you feel any closer to answers after this game…?


I do think I know who our guys that are going to get us through it are and I know that we’re still capable of beating any team. I mean if you objectively look at it, have we seen a team this year that you just go wow not we’re not even in the same stratosphere? Every game’s gone down to the wire, as bad as we’ve started and set ourselves into a bad spot, we’ve still been in the games. The guys never quit. They still push till the end, till the last minute but that’s not good enough anymore. Our fans don’t want to hear that, we’re tired of it as well, but we have to stick together because again, it’s going to be up to us to get us out of it.”


      6. “Update on Lowe and then your thoughts on Harriel and Uhre’s performance tonight?” 


“Yeah so Damien had a back issue yesterday he wasn’t able to train. I thought he’d be able to at least come off the bench for tonight but woke up this morning and it wasn’t feeling good so he wasn’t able to go. Nathan I thought had some really good moments in the attack. Had some good crosses, got on the end of a few corner kicks, had some shots even on corner kicks, but right now when it’s going bad for the group, and things aren’t aren’t bouncing our way a lot of things get blocked. Matt Freese made a couple big saves, you know Julian had a couple good looks that he would like back -free headers. So we’re close but close doesn’t get you points.” 


       7. “You’ve been very complimentary of Jesus Bueno in the past. He just received an extension but we haven’t really seen much of him lately. Can you speak on his fitness or what’s going on or if there’s an issue there?” 


“Yeah Jesus is doing fine. He was re-signed and did a good job last season, he’s working hard in training, ultimate professional. We chose Leon today just for his quickness and ball winning, I thought Leon was really good today too. We have some good midfielders and yeah we’ll choose week by week he’ll continue to work hard when he’s called upon I’m sure he’ll do a good job.” 


      8. “He wasn’t even on the bench tonight admittedly, hasn’t been yet, but his time might be coming is David Vazquez. In terms of attacking options that you might turn to at some point here, especially when Daniel’s gone, how close is he to the step up to a game night because that position is one…?”


 “Yeah I think it’s clear now we’ll miss Danny for the Euros, but there’s a bunch of different things that we could do. You could tweak a formation, but David is a natural number 10. He’s a guy that’s getting better and better in training each and every week. He’ll be certainly a guy that we’ll lean on during that time when we’re a little bit thin. Whether that’s off the bench or as a starter is still to be determined but he’s working really hard. I’d say him, CJ Olney have impressed. Cavan gets going now, coming off an injury and will resume training tomorrow. So, it’s an important young group of players that are going to be called upon during a stretch where we’re missing some guys. 


      Follow up: “Worth a bench spot before Daniel leaves just to get him in the rotation?” 


“Sure yeah, and that is a fluid thing where we can tweak and change each week, but certainly we’ll have him on the bench sooner rather than later.”


       10. “Careless foul that looked like it stemmed from the frustration where it looked like Kai got hit in the face. You also have questionable decision making from Oliver on judging that. How do you talk to those guys- seems like that’s a silly mistake and if that didn’t happen it could’ve stayed 1-1?”  


“Yeah at 1-0, conceding early right? We actually played okay, I thought, in the remainder of the first half. Kai was upset, you’re right, he got what he thought fouled on the play before so you could tell it was a revenge foul I think that was clear to see. But, the rule for any defender is when someone’s facing the sidelines don’t commit a foul right he’s not going to hurt you there I think Kai knows that. It was a hard foul, it was an unnecessary foul, and a foul that wound up in the back of the net. So that hurts, obviously Oliver should do better on that too but that’s when it’s going bad things tend to snowball and we have to fight our way out of it.” 


       11. (Unintelligible) “Go back to what-?”


“Yeah everyone scouts, everyone scouts and watches every game, for sure.”

Insight and Future Outlook


  • Based on his second half performance, it makes sense that Carranza was the most vocal leader at halftime. If he had taken his next two chances like his first, he would have sparked a comeback almost single handedly. Regardless, it’s good to hear that one of the team’s best young players isn’t afraid to step up as a leader, that’s always a good thing.


  • Curtin dodged the question regarding the lack of attacking subs the team has. Obviously, any coaching staff can give any instruction to subs- whether it’s asking a full-back to attack or a striker to defend- the point of the question wasn’t specifically about Bedoya, Mbaizo, and Martinez. It was about the fact that none of the attackers on the bench typically impact the game offensively. This team lacks depth at forward and it’s very clearly hurting them. Honestly, would Chris Donovan or Thai Baribo playing the last five minutes have created a goal? Doubt it. 


  • Seems like when asked about Lowe and then Harriel and Uhre’s performance, Curtin answered about Carranza instead of Uhre. Looking at his answer to the second question, Curtin states that the coaching staff thought Uhre was having a good game. Unfortunate to hear that Lowe was out with a back issue as he’s been the most consistent of the three center backs this year. 


  • Finally, it’s interesting to hear the names for potential replacements to starters during the summer tournaments. It is known that Gazdag is gone for the Euros, which run June 14 – July 14. Martinez and Bueno are with Venezuela for Copa America (June 20 – July 14). Jamaica has not yet released their provisional roster but it likely would include Lowe and Blake, depending on the latter’s injury. For the sake of the equation, the Olympic soccer tournament runs July 24 – August 10. McGlynn and Harriel are hopeful selections for that, which means that during the stretch in June and July as many as five starters will be away, with the potential to lose two more shortly after the others return. For a team that has ‘razor thin margins’ and needs everyone available, that is not a good sign. Curtin named new homegrown signings Cavan Sullivan and David Vazquez as potential replacements for Gazdag. He also mentioned current U2 player CJ Olney, who recently scored the winner against Huntsville City FC in MLSNP. What will be interesting is the depth during that run. Perhaps Makhanya will finally debut? Could Rafanello, who played very well against Portland, get another run? Ultimately, will that cobbled together team somehow get any results? The current run of form is not inspiring.


Full video of press conference can be watched here via the Philadelphia Union’s YouTube Channel



  1. Having these press summaries is great, thanks for the work!

  2. No doubt that Curtin is being tested, bu he stayed positive, i liked that he was truthful, we will baby sit and enjoy it.

  3. Gruncle Bob says:

    +1 on the thank you for the summary.

  4. Eric Boyle says:

    Nice summary and analysis.

    I think you are right about the striker depth but what does anyone outside the team know about Baribo – the most he has seen the field was in stoppage time against Orlando! TBF Donovan has scored a critical last-minute goal before. We should not have been in that position to begin with.

    Adding some salt was another of our “depth” players that rarely saw the field and now he starts for the Pigeons and set up their first goal.

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