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Jim Curtins comments following 0-0 draw with NYRB

Photo courtesy of Philadelphia Union

Opening Statement:

 

Curtin: “Thanks to the fans for pushing the guys tonight means a lot. I know it’s not our best moment but I thought that they really helped. A really hot night, third game in a week- I think stopped the bleeding a little bit just by getting a shutout, so something to build on there, which is important. Had some chances to steal the game, Red Bull had some chances. I thought we kind of canceled each other out in the first half, but had some opportunities in the second. Ball didn’t bounce for us but at the same time we did defend pretty well as a team against a strong opponent so no moral victories but also still good to keep a clean sheet”.

 

Questions: 

 

Jim, you’ve been around this place for a long time. How does the mood right now in the locker room like you saw tonight compare to the past? As we’ve discussed for days now it’s been very good the last few years but how did that feel compared to other stuff you’ve seen?  

 

Curtin: “in terms of what?”

 

The atmosphere, the need to do something to stop the roll.

 

Curtin: It’s hard right now right we’re we’re in a losing streak, we don’t have all of our tools, our weapons here. As much as we say it’s the same group if you go and look at how many times the groups really played together without several absences it’s not that many times. Hopefully, a couple pieces trickle back in. Obviously Jose played really well with Venezuela, Andre will rejoin the group now, Julian’s not coming back, that’s a reality, but we still have some guys that I think are big contributors to what this group has been about that just simply haven’t been here. Guys worked hard, it gets no easier. We lose Jack McGlynn and Nathan who I thought were both excellent tonight. Jack probably his best game in quite some time. He always plays good against Red Bull because he has the composure in the moments where they’re kind of flying at him and he made some really good key passes for us and sprung us in on some good numbers up advantages. We’ll miss those two, so every little bit forward step we take Jonathan we’re still not over that hump of getting a win, which is what we need right now. It’s tough”.

 

What did you make of Damien Lowe’s return great and the shape of the back three and how they defended tonight?

 

Curtin: “Great. Yeah I think you guys know I don’t love playing in the back three but when you concede as many goals as we have in recent weeks we decided to do it just because of the bodies that are here, the quality of the players that are here, and the experience that they have. That position is one where we have three guys that have been through these types of battles against the strong Red Bull team so, I thought Damion was really good, won a lot of duels, put out a lot of fires. Still things we can clean up because Red Bull had some chances too, as did we, but overall a really solid performance and good to have him back for sure”.

 

What did you make of Andrew Rick compared to his first start?

 

Curtin: “Really good. Anytime you make an early save I think that that gives you confidence and belief. Are there things that he’ll work with Phil and look at the film and work on some kicking and different things? There’s going to be learning moments for him all the time, but he made some big saves tonight that we needed and it’s a clean sheet for a young goalkeeper. So, that can only build confidence. There’s instances like at the end of the game when guys are exhausted, and he goes quick on the goal kick, and we turn the ball over. There’s moments where you have to learn when to go fast, when to slow things down or at least get guys into their positions but certainly a strong performance from Andrew, so proud of him”.

 

Jim, how do you balance what this kind of feels like obviously you’re in a position where you need as many home points as you can but is there a little bit of an exhale in just stopping the bleeding?

 

Curtin: “Yeah there is- it’s not enough, and it’s not going to make anyone too happy but, there should be a belief from the group that we can keep a clean sheet against the good teams. As guys again come back I think we’ll get stronger as a team defensively. We’ve scored enough goals this year, and the data will show you that we’ve produced enough chances. Didn’t get a goal tonight obviously, but if you go through the numbers we’re actually doing all right in terms of attacking, but where we’ve come up small as a team is the defensive side, and if you concede goals in the way that we have the moments that we have it’s physically, emotionally, mentally, really really draining for the guys ‘cause you have those moments where it’s ‘here we go again’ kind of thing. I thought tonight they at least pushed through it. Red Bull still had chances too, don’t don’t get me wrong, but still something to build on. I think we’re down to six home games, six away games and it’s going to be up to us if we want to be in the playoffs. We’re going to have to start to make a run for sure.”

 

What was your thought bringing Alejandro in with 10 minutes left, and any

hesitation with him just coming off that injury again and what did you think of his performance?

 

Curtin: “Alejandro has been through these types of games, we wanted to get him you know 15 to 20 minutes as his first game back. He’s a little bit more of an attacking player than Leon. I thought Leon had a solid game, but at that moment we wanted to go for it. They didn’t really play with a 10 that was in the middle of the field, so we were hoping Ale could get on the ball and play some forward passes- which he did. Overall his experience to close out a game which is something we haven’t done great in the recent weeks to have him out there was helpful”. 

 

In terms of the two Olympians officially announced when is their actual departure from the squad?

 

Curtin: “This will be their last game with us unfortunately, unless something changes. I’d love for them to stay, and we’ll communicate with the coaches, but you also don’t want to put them in any Jeopardy of missing a once in a lifetime opportunity. It hurts but it’s what we are as a club and what we believe in. They’ve worked really hard through the cycle. Oftentimes guys get a team to qualify for the Olympics and aren’t selected and that happened to a lot of players. Fortunately for our guys they were kind of there the whole way through. They earned this opportunity. So, for us to kind of be selfish and hold them back now I wouldn’t sleep well at night. So, we’ll miss them for sure, they’re both playing really really good. I think they’ve played almost every minute for us this year or the majority of minutes for us this year they have done well but they’ll be the first to tell you too they want to stay and help us get out of this tough time that we’re in”.

 

On reintegrating Jose; when is he arriving midweek? Available for this weekend I assume? 

 

Curtin: “Yeah well we’ll give him a day or two to recover emotionally- he was excellent by the way in the games. Venezuela had a great run, the game could have gone either way last night with Canada, but a great player. You guys know my love for Jose. Hopefully he’ll be back by Tuesday- that’s the hope- and then build towards Toronto”.

 

You’ve coached Olympians in the past but I believe Jack and Nathan are going to be the first current players that have played for the Union that you coached, what’s that mean to you as a coach to have two guys represent this country?

 

Curtin: “They earned it, first of all, they deserve all the credit for that. It’s a hard thing to make because the roster size is so small, there’s such a small group that gets the opportunity to do that. To get to do it in France is also pretty special, in Paris which will be a once in a lifetime opportunity. I hope they go there and maybe defy the odds and win a medal that would be an incredible achievement. We’re already really proud of them and the things that they’ve done here for the Union as great homegrown players. They’ve become guys that I think we forget how young they still are because they get penciled in and play every minute for us. They can dominate games here at the pro level so hopefully they go there with confidence. That competition is a great stepping stone, there’s so many stories of young players dominating at the Olympics and then going on to top clubs in Europe. There’s a lot of eyes on the competition, so we know that they’ll do well. They’re great players, they’ll go there hopefully advance through their group, not miss too many games with us but do well and then come back and help us in that final push to get in the playoffs”.

 

Can you just talk about the atmosphere in the building tonight with the Sons of Ben being quiet to start the game and then some of the fans booing when your name was introduced and then walking off the field tonight some of the fans were booing how would you say was the overall atmosphere tonight?

 

Curtin: “I said it in my press conference- I think you guys know I understand where we are as a team, I think you guys understand I know how not only Philadelphia works but how everywhere in the world works: when you win they cheer, when you lose they boo. That’s the right thing, that’s the way it should be. So, I understand that. We want to give them that winning feeling again, we’re working as hard as we can to do it. Are we a little undermanned right now? We are, that’s the reality of things. I’ve talked about it a hundred times to you guys, I’ve taken the blame, and I’ll continue to take the blame until we turn it around. So, that’s life as the leader of the group I’ll take the bullets, that’s no problem but I still know what we’ve done here and and what capable of doing and those those can turn into cheers really quick if you start to hit the back of the net and and keep the ball out of the back of the net which is what we struggled with this year”.

2 Comments

  1. Anyone have any details on what the U got for Carranza? On a whim I looked him up in transfermarkt and it said free transfer, which doesn’t seem right, unless it was a sale with no transfer fee.

    • SoccerDad says:

      I thought I saw something about a low fee with a portion of sell on. (Miami and his Argentine club also have a piece of any sell-on.)

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