Press Conference

“The finger points at me first…” Jim Curtin comments on Union’s loss streak

Photo Marjorie Elzey

The following is a transcription of manager Jim Curtin’s press conference following the Philadelphia Union’s 2-0 loss against Charlotte FC (full press conference can be watched here courtesy of Stream Punk Soccer on YouTube).

Opening Statement: “Look as the leader of the group, I know the finger points at me first and I accept that and take responsibility for the current run we’re on. It hurts, I still think the players are trying and giving everything they can but at the moment it’s just not enough. We know we’re missing 5-6 key guys and that hurts right now. I still think in the first hald we actually have some decent looks at goal, some good actions, some half chances. Tai gave us some energy I thought, Mikael had a couple chances, Quinny had some looks. But right now it’s really tough for us to catch a break, score a goal, make a play that changes the game and then you know, we concede in the second half and chase the game. Charlotte deserves credit because they were better than us in both boxes and we got punished.

Jonathan Tannenwald: “Jim, you made, or somebody made, a decision to bench Oliver Semmle tonight, tell us about that.”

“Look, it’s tough for everybody right now so there’s been a lot of tough performances. Oliver’s had some really good games, good moments, good saves but also when we analyzed it there were some goals that we conceded that were you know, I’d say unorthodox or unacceptable so we made a change. We still believe in Oliver, we wanted to try to give our group a spark with a little bit of a tweak, give him a break physically and mentally and I thought that Rick stepped in and did a decent job too so you know, nothing he can do on the first one, obviously a great header and we need to do a better job just denying the service there. We made the decision to make a change, to try and give a spark, and we didn’t get it.”

Tannenwald: “On that second goal, Jakob Glesnes was beaten one-on-one again. This has happened now a number of times in recent weeks. How big of a problem is this?

“Yeah he’s had some tough moments individually, but at the same time I know Jakob is Defender of the Year recently you know so I always will believe in him, he wore the captain’s armband again, he’s a leader and it’s just harder to defend when we’re all not confident, we’re all not here, we’re all not on the same page so that’s the challenge right now to try and get some confidence. It’s not going to get any easier, as you saw some guys took some knocks but we have to stick together and try to find a way.”

Joe Tansey: “Are you confident in this group right now where the way the roster is constructed that you can make a push to the playoffs when everyone is back? Because the way it’s been constructed over the last few transfer windows, there’s been plenty of misses and some of those guys that were signed to be the second tier depth guys didn’t pan out, those are guys that you could have used in a situation like tonight.

“Well look, again, it’s not an excuse but it is a reality that five to six starters aren’t here. So to judge us and say can we make a run, I do think we can when everyone is here and healthy and playing at their max. Like I’ve told you guys, our margins are razor thing and right now we’re getting exposed. You know winning and success over the last couple of years does cover a lot of things. That’s the number one priority when you win there’s a lot less questions or analysis but I take the blame, it’s on me. I have to find a way to turn it around, you know I know that we still have a group that when they’re all here and healthy is still a strong team. We’re not fully together right now, that is our reality, and we need some other guys to step up, we need our experienced guys to be better, and all of us have to improve in the coming weeks because things are not just gonna change just by us stepping on the field. We need to put some work in in training, we have to find a way to turn this around and it hurts right now and I know you guys are sick of me saying it too I’d imagine.”

Tansey:”The fans didn’t direct their frustration at you tonight it was at the ownership group. What do you make of the “Sell the Team” chants?”

“Look again, when you don’t win things get covered up. An example of that is we’re far and awya leading in Homegrown minutes in the league but that story doesn’t–no one cares or wants to hear it because winning comes first and that is the reality. We know that and we have to find a way to fight our way out of it and again I take the blame. I’ll stand up here and coach should take the blame, take the bullets, however you want to word it but I will also still continue to work with this group and turn things around.”

Unknown: Can we talk about Kai taking a couple of knocks? It looked like on the sideline he was grabbing his hamstring is that what the injury was?”

“He started to feel some tightness, we saw him stretching at the water break you know he said he felt like something might happen if he had to sprint again so we were proactive and took him out so you know, also he’s on the yellow card, one more yellow and he’s out again so we were proactive and just to prevent the injury we put Olivier in there just to try to give us something.”

Tannenwald: “You mentioned Jakob Glesnes being Defender of the Year in ’22 I think it was, since then he’s had a sports hernia issue and had surgery on it and hasn’t really looked the same since the surgery. Do you sense anything different with him since the surgery in terms of how he’s been?”

“Jakob or any center back is at their best when everyone around them is at their best so it’s not a one person thing, you know, we haven’t had consistency at different spots all over the field because of injury or guys away at international call-ups so we need everybody to be playing at their max so it’s not just on him. Do you have good years and bad years as a center back? For sure, I’ve experience that some years everything you block, some years everything maybe the goalkeeper makes a save and bails you out, some years everything goes in and right now we’re in one of those years where every mistake that we make, we get punished as a group. That’s not just Jakob, that’s everyone. We could have been a lot better tonight in a lot of areas on the field but right now we’re getting punished for every little mistake so I’m not going to call out any individuals that’s for sure.”

Tannenwald: “Do you tell the individuals or the unit of the back five players maybe stay a little deeper instead of high pressing? This team has been a high pressing backline for years but in a situation like right now do you tell them to stay a little deeper, to not get caught going the other way as much?”

“Third game in a week we have to adjust how we play a little bit, so you didn’t see us flying around and high pressing. You know Charlotte made the plays in the boxes and really punished us and hurt us and you have to give them credit for that. Having said that, we’ve become too fragile at home–that’s the reality. We’ve conceded first way too much, we aren’t defending well as a team. There’s not a lot of positives you can take away from the game so we have to get better and I’m not going to blame the players, I take the blame.”

Tansey: “To your point about Homegrowns, CJ Olney seems like he’s risen pretty quickly from getting on the bench to getting actual minutes. What have you seen out of him these last few weeks?”

“With Leon taking a little bit of a knock, we moved Bueno to the center six spot on the diamond and CJ’s been a guy that’s done really well for Union II on that left side of the diamond. Hoped he could give us little bit of a spark, rewarded him but there’s levels right it’s not going to be perfect straight away. That was his first taste of things, again, back to Jonathan’s comment, it’s a lot easier to put these guys in when the team is stable, doing well, you set them up for success when maybe there’s one or two of them out there but now we’re a little bit desperate and having to put them maybe into situations where development doesn’t happen because it’s hard and you’re chasing a game and it’s not an ideal way to get confidence or get better so we have to be careful about how we do things moving forward with that but certainly CJ’s a guy who you know got his debut, which is a positive, is a good thing, but you want it to be memorable with a win for sure.”


  1. Plenty of blame to go around, but it starts with Sugarman. He has done little or nothing to significantly improve the 1st team roster this year. You cant be reinvesting all your profits in the accademy. I truly believe he could give a crap about improving the first team in any significant way. The Union can not compete in MLS 3.0 without adding at least 2 bonifide attacking players. A versatile attacking midfieder and another forward. This team is always a day late and a dollar short. Its pathetic that Philly cant compete with a Columbus or Cincinati or Charlotte in acquiring enough veteran talent. You cant stand pat or you are going to go backwards as they have year. The fans deserve better. Sugarman is an awful owner

    • I agree Sugarman isn’t a soccer guy, he’s a money guy. The blame is with Tanner and Curtin. If they didn’t realize at the end of last season that we needed help, they have no business being here. I think they’re covering for Sugarmans cheapness. Jim said now is a hard time to integrate young players, he is right. But when the team was more stable, he blew every chance to do so. If Aaronson had more than 3-4 minutes a game, maybe he still would be here. But some players stay on the roster even if they’ve never were good enough and never will be good enough for the first team

  2. Tim Jones says:

    Anna, thank you for creating the verbatim transcript. Having what he said in black and white is most, most useful.

  3. I’m looking forward to Curtin winning in another city in a few years.

  4. The Cheepnis – it burns !

    Time to buy some players, the fans

    deserve to see a winner Now, not at

    some undefined time in the future with

    some farcical home grown academy

    product. Apparently it works so well

    we can sell them to someone who can

    afford to pay them somewhere else, how

    is this an acceptable plan ? Why the

    hell did you not pay Caranza whatever

    it took to keep him ?

    Sell The Team – the Fans want you to.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *