Press Conference

“Little things become big issues”…Jim Curtin’s comments after Union’s last minute loss against Chicago Fire

Photo courtesy of Philadelphia Union

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

Opening statement: “Another heartbreaking defeat, we kind of are inventing new, difficult ways to lose games. Guys put so much into it, get themselves up 3-1, from there, pretty comfortable ’til about the 80th-82nd minute, and from there we started to concede corners we didn’t need to concede and the little things become big issues. Then the thing we’ve been pretty good at over the years–defending set pieces–we come up really small and get punished. It hurts again, and I sound like a broken record to you guys, but the group will have to regroup quickly and go again against New York.”

Todd: “You talked about the set pieces that you guys gave up, you gave up two against Montreal, a couple tonight, do you think that’s just a mentality thing, fatigue thing, just tiredness from the guys stepping in?”

“I think always, before the corners happen, there’s things that make them preventable so in this instance, the first one if you remember, Nathan gets beat in by behind, we really shouldn’t be in a dangerous situation, it’s just a straight ball over the top, we have to scramble, make a block, and it goes out for a corner. Anytime you do that now, obviously, everybody goes into the box. Having said that, we have enough guys in the box to defend the right way, we don’t do it, and we get punished. Next one, we have a ball that gets clipped into the box easy to catch and the plays over, instead it gets punched out for a scramble and then another corner and you get punished. So these little things, little details, come back to haunt you and again, we didn’t get it done tonight on the restarts.”

Todd: “You guys have struggled to get that second goal, the two goal lead, you guys finally get it tonight and then just seemed like after that goal you guys scored you guys couldn’t create anything offensively. Any reason you think that was?”

“We certainly are scoring plenty. Even short-handed, to score two goals on the road, now three goals on the road, that should be enough to take points and for whatever reason we haven’t been able to close out games defensively as a group and we get punished so you know, the offense has been there, we’ve manufacture goals, we’ve found ways to score and when you get a 3-1 lead on the road that should be enough and tonight it wasn’t because we had some self-inflicted errors.”

Todd: “You look at the midfield play tonight, particularly in the first half, it seemed like you know a lot of good movement, which seems like sometimes this season we haven’t really seen a lot of give and goes, how do you assess the first half performance with the midfield compared to the second half?”

“It’s a shame because it is a good stretch of the game we had in the first half but it’s all wasted because we didn’t take points. I thought Chuchu had a strong game, Leon was everywhere trying to do his part, McGlynn came into the game and I thought did a good job too especially, obviously getting the goal in the second half. It was good to have Danny back and we found some space in the middle of the field but overall again the guys put a ton into the game and walk away empty.

Jonathan Tannenwald: “Jim you made one substitution tonight, Jeremy Rafanello for Chris Donovan. I know that your bench is thin and Olwethu Makhanya hasn’t played a senior level game yet, but when it’s 3-1 with 10 minutes to go, what’s going through your mind and why not make a defensive substitution to try to reinforce things?”

“We talked about keeping the integrity of the back four, Jonathan, you know we changed last game and right or wrong it didn’t wind up working out and we conceded late so we wanted to trust the back four. Olwethu is a kid who is working hard to try and get minutes, just didn’t think it was the game to put him in there.”

JT: “You were talking to Todd a moment ago about fatigue and you know whether or not the guys might have been getting tired late in the game when there’s three late goals conceded whether its Olivier, who was also on the bench, what is the balance of making a substitution for its own sake to get something in there when you haven’t won a game in seven games and you’re that close to it?”

“The only thing I’d say is the goals we conceded Jonathan, are on set pieces so we have in both goals, 8-10 guys in the box, so that’s not for me fatigue. Are there moments in the game where guys are tired? Of course, you know you look all over the world and guys are able to play 90 minutes in consecutive games and they should be. So we went with the guys that got it to 3-1. Offensive-wise, Chris cramped up so he came out, we made the change there, you know Marcus really had one day of training this week so to put him in didn’t make much sense for us and we didn’t get it done so I have to answer these types of questions and we got punished.”

Joe Tansey: “Why is Oliver still getting starts if he can’t handle the simple things, just crosses in the box he seemed to struggle immensely with tonight?”

“It was a tough game for him, we have to regroup, we have to try to protect him as best as we can, you know just have to not allow shots, not allow crosses, and do a better job of that.”

JT: “What went into starting him over Andrew tonight?”

“Just trying to get someone to get hot, to make a play, to make a save, and right now, the harder we try, the worse it tends to get.”

Jose Nunez: “Just wanted to find out where Damion was–is he getting a little bit of a break coming off of Copa America? I know there’s a lot of stuff going on with his home nation and maybe something he has to deal with out there in Jamaica. Is he still away from the team for a little bit coming off of that tournament?”

“He is–Damion was excused until tomorrow, he’ll be back with the group tomorrow morning. His daughter had a surgery so you know family issue.”

JN: ” I think you’ve sort of started hinting a little bit too, in terms of what the team’s doing in terms of lining itself up and work behind the scenes with Zitterbart who joined the team a little bit ago and maybe Ernst in terms of potential transfers , hypothetically if you had the ability to pick 2 or 3 targets, what would be on your wish list to sort of turn things around if you had the ability to bring bodies in?”

“Answering that right now will just get me in more trouble so again, we want to try and stick together with the group that we have here, find a way to get out of this horrible stretch that we’ve been in. We feel awful for the fans, I feel terrible for the players, again another night where it feels like you’re making a step forward at 3-1 and maybe there’s a play or two where we could get another goal and we don’t and yeah, it’s a sickening feeling for sure.”

Kyle Maloney: “I know after tonight it doesn’t mean much but talk about Daniel Gazdag becoming the all-time Union leading scorer in MLS play and then also following up with Chris Donovan getting his first goal tonight after going back and forth between Union 1 and Union 2–what’s that do for a player like him to get that confidence with the first team?”

“Both of them want to achieve these things with three points but I thought Danny came back into the team as a starter and did a great job for us, you know, looked like himself, caused problems, drew fouls, set plays up, got us a good goal and also Chris worked really hard winning some aerials for us, gets the goal off of a kind of deflection after Leon shot, but they all count so happy for him but again it still feels empty when you don’t take points.”


  1. House on Fire …This team is spinning out of control. The head coach can not instill enough confidence in them to finish a game even when they have a 2 goal lead. Its a sad state of the Union message from our coach. Jim needs help. The team needs better players. The owner needs to find a solution as soon as possible. It’s like watching a house burn down and nobody is attempting to put out the fire. Sugarman is at the top. Make a move don’t sit back and watch this team burn to the ground.

  2. Atlanta sold Almada and the GM said. “Our team has been prepared for this move and we will look to immediately reinvest in the team during the upcoming summer transfer window.”

    “Prepared for this” and “immediately reinvest” are key action words that the Union leadership lacked in announcing the Carranza deal, and by the way all the other deals. WHO is more serious about winning and who is hiding in the weeds while the coach takes the heat for lack of performance?!?

    • That’s because the bulk of the money from Carranza going to Feyenoord will be made if/when they sell him. The Union tried to sell Carranza last Summer and this January. Each time the player and his representation rejected the moves.
      When MLS’ transfer window opens there will be 9 games left in the season by the time any reinforcements join. The window opens July 18 and closes August 14.
      I hear what you’re saying, IMO it’s just general FO/Coach speak.

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