Press Conference

Curtin discusses another last minute loss following Cincinnati’s victory

Photo: Ron Soliman

The following is a transcription of manager Jim Curtin’s press conference following the Philadelphia Union’s 4-3 loss against FC Cincinnati (full press conference can be watched here courtesy of Stream Punk Soccer on YouTube).

Opening Statement: “Obviously another difficult loss, being on the road scoring three goals that should be enough. We conceded in unacceptable ways I would say. The first goal we have three center backs and the communication between the goalkeeper coming out I think could be better. I think the PK is a little bit soft, so a little unlucky. We clear a ball off ourselves and it bounces into their stride, I haven’t seen it back yet but it didn’t look like a lot of contact. Then a 60-yard or 50-yard goal from midfield. Then at the end when we have a play to just go to the corner flag, or actually even cut the ball or play a simple left-footed ball to Quinny, or cut it back to your right and just put Quinn in, we lose it, don’t have a great reaction after we lose it and get punished. So, it hurts. Guys put a ton into the game and they give everything. I feel awful for them because they just can’t get a break right now, but again, we have to regroup quickly and go again against Charlotte”. 


Joe Tansey: On that last play, you mentioned it with Marcus; how do you respond to that? It feels like you guys responded in every way possible tonight, and then to have that silly mistake at the end; how frustrating is it knowing you guys were so close and battled probably as tough as you have in any road game this season?”


“We’re down about five starters missing some guys but, the effort from the players was really good. If you really analyze the game, I think they did a good job playing in a back three and frustrated Cincinnati, particularly in the first half. We made it hard to play again, like you said, and had really good responses after we conceded. I say it all the time: whether you’re called upon to play 90 minutes or whether you’re called upon to play one minute to close the game out, you have to be ready to do your job, and we didn’t get that tonight and we paid for it.”


Follow up: “…How do you look at the defensive performance as a whole tonight?”


“I went through the goals already Joe, and right now everything hits the back of the net and that’s just how it is. I think guys are defending a little differently than they normally would to maybe try to help and overcompensate. We have to remain aggressive, trust each other, and again if you really evaluate each goal some strange ones some flukiness to them. I thought there were some very preventable plays in there. So, it hurts but again we win as a group and and we lose as a group.” 


Jonathan Tannenwald: “I want to ask first about Tai Baribo and how much of an impression he made tonight and whether he’s earned himself more playing time?”  


“Excellent. That’s not just because of the goals, Jonathan, because of the work rate. To be able to run and fight that way until he couldn’t run anymore, basically, was very good. He’s worked hard to get this start and now yeah certainly left a really good impression with the coaches. Put in a great shift and he will certainly get more playing time. Obviously, when he was behind Julian, it was tough to get minutes. Obviously, Julian’s not here anymore and Thai did his job and really stepped up and scored two big goals for us. It’s really disappointing though because there’s been so many gutsy, gritty performances that have come away with us being empty-handed and that hurts and it weighs on the guys. I’m gutted and I feel terrible for them because it’s not a lack of effort. Leon just died on the field for us tonight, the center backs worked their asses off. To not be rewarded with at least the point hurts but we have to pick ourselves up and go again against Charlotte.” 


Follow up: Markus Anderson, you gave him a chance tonight and then he does that where he gives the ball away I know you don’t normally criticize individual players but what was going through your mind watching that is he has the ball there and whether or not he should pass the ball to Quinn, who’s standing on the other side of the field waving his hands up and down. What are you thinking when Markus gives the ball away?


“He had an opportunity to do one of two things: you could go to the corner flag and the game probably ends. There was a window if you’re not confident in your left foot to play Quinny, there’s enough space there and now this is in a recovery mode to just cut it to your right and hit it just a 40-yard clip ball to the other side. It might not have been a breakaway but there was a moment there where when you see Quinn streaking over there you have the feeling maybe we could steal a win. That quickly turned into a mistake and it being a loss. Those are the fine margins in this game.”


Jose Nuñez: “As you continue to think about some performances tonight, another player who got a great opportunity was Chuchu Bueno. What do you make of his 70 plus minutes that he played today?


“Excellent. Very good with the ball, Very good against the ball, obviously scored off of a restart with a good run at the back post. Did a good job and that’s the thing, Jose, we’ve had a lot of good performances as a team, a lot of good individual performances, but in the biggest moments we’ve really let ourselves down in front of both goals, in both boxes, and we’ve been punished. All these guys would trade everything for just three points right now but Chu Chu was one of the guys I thought that impressed and had a really good day.”


Follow Up: “As you think about the attention that was drawn to the team this week in terms of Kai Wagner and his comments, obviously he goes out and performs the way he did, he gets two assists. What does that tell you about someone like him, in terms of showing up when it matters most, and putting it on the line and really backing his talk in a way?”


“Kai’s, for me, the best left back that our league has, so I’ve said that over and over again. I thought he had a really strong performance tonight, playing in a little bit of a different position, get a little higher up the field, created some chances for us. We did shift at the end of the game into the diamond to try to get a goal. We wound up getting the third one. Went back into the five-man backline so he was flexible and adapted to whatever he needed to do tonight. I thought had a strong performance.” 


Lewis: “Jim that’s back-to-back games now where you guys have given up goals within the first five minutes of the second half and just like the Miami game you guys dominated in the first half against Cincinnati. How deflating is that where you guys work so hard in the first half just to see all that work go out within the first five minutes?” 


“It hurts because we do work very hard, the players never quit, they have a ton of heart but maybe we need to work a little smarter, because even the PK we have plenty of numbers there. I think we actually clear it off of ourselves and luckily it goes, for them, into Kubo’s stride. I still haven’t seen it back, but it doesn’t seem like a ton of contact, but anytime in the box when you’re trailing a player they can make a call like that. So kind of from nothing, I thought we had it covered well and it was going to be cleared and deflects and and goes like I said for a breakaway for them. So, it hurts, again, painful. We need to to do a better job at the the start of second halves.”


Follow up: “And then, with the formation tonight, was that just a situation where you got your best 11 players on the field?” 


“Little bit of who’s available. Like we said, we’re missing about five starters, so adapted and adjusted and I thought the guys took the information and did a good job limiting a really good Cincinnati team. It’s just a shame they don’t get at least a point out of it to go back to Philly. Again, I’m going to stay positive with the group. I believe in these guys, I know we can get things turned around, but we just need to get that first little impetus to get the ball rolling forward. Tonight we were close to getting that with almost a result in a hard place to play and we just came up a little bit short in the end.”


Tannenwald: “Jim, I’d like to ask one more question about Tai Baribo and the conversation that he was going to start tonight. What was that conversation like and what did you sense from his reaction? 


“Thai worked hard in training and we rewarded him. So, he stepped on the field and gave us everything, did a really good job for us. He earned the start, and like a good professional, took advantage of his opportunity. So, happy for Thai. Again, something to build on, but I know he would trade the two goals for some points as well. So, did a good job finishing his plays off in the box like a good striker and yeah hopefully there’s more of that in the future.”


  1. Jims expressions said more than the coach speak. He was obviously was uncomfortable answering many qusetions .

    He will never go out of character or show any negative emotion or say something in an honest way even if a criticism is warranted.

    I wish he would have said……. regarding Markus ” he took a risky play that he was told not to make at that stage of the game. He needs to play smarter and not take those kind of chances in those situations in his own half of the field. PS he also need to keep his head up more so he can see the field while he is dribbling. (Thats just bad technique )

    and said,,,The contact with Kubo was miniscule thats all I am going to say about the PK.

    and said… Every union player knew that if they could they were going to get the ball to Acosta if they could. We cant let him dribble through 4 players and shoot. We need to anticipate better.

    Now some of you will say thats to harsh ! I dont think so. You can offer constructive critcism it allowed ! You can point out a bad call without saying the ref blew it. I am glad Tanenwald and others put him on the spot. You dont always have to be politically correct either

  2. Vince Devine says:

    Tai, not Thai.

  3. Thanks for these recaps as I don’t see the post game otherwise. Is it something broadcast or streamed anywhere?

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