Philadelphia Union Head Coach Jim Curtin spoke about the importance of grabbing as many points as possible as his team kicks off a road stretch of three matches in just seven days.
Fresh off the news regarding German-American forward Andrew Wooten joining his club, Jim Curtin spoke with confidence while highlighting a very positive week and a half of training Tuesday afternoon. But perhaps more importantly, considering Wooten won’t be available for selection until the transfer window opens July 9th, Curtin lamented how his team will look to utilize these next three matches as a way to separate themselves from the rest of the Eastern Conference.
As his team sits atop the table, Curtin acknowledged players have “made some good strides, but we still have a lot of work to do.” Tonight they play a team who’s found a recent run of good form in New England Revolution. It’s safe to say both clubs have made some good strides lately.
New England have seriously improved their predicament as of late. They haven’t lost against an MLS opponent since May 8th. Fresh off a U.S. Open Cup loss to Orlando City SC a week ago, New England will be hungry for a rebound victory on their own pitch.
Bruce Arena took over as the new Head Coach of New England about a month ago, and since then his team has been able to continue their recent stretch of positive play. Despite being second to last in the Eastern Conference table, New England pose a threat to Philadelphia due to a renewed sense of fight thanks to the American soccer icon Arena and his soccer smarts.
For Curtin, he has to balance a desire to win tonight with the looming presence of two league matches over the next six days.
“Our focus is on New England,” said Curtin. “A much-improved team who will be dangerous under a new coach. It’s a busy stretch of games for us but it is a good thing. We’ve always done well in these Saturday, Wednesday, Saturday type set ups. We have to find a way to get points in the first of three road games.”
But what about the second and third road match of this stretch? How will Curtin and his staff combat fatigue as Philadelphia look to earn results in all three matches?
Simple: roster depth. Remember? Earlier in the season, Curtin utilized the likes of Aurelien Collin and Kacper Przybylko when times were tough. He’ll be digging deep into his forward stable over the next three matches upcoming too.
“We want to try and create as much separation as we can at the top, but we’ll certainly have to use our full squad especially at the forward spot where we demand a lot out of our attackers to not only attack but to keep up their defensive work rate,” said Curtin.
A big potential positive for Curtin and the Union could be the reemergence of Marco Fabian into the starting XI. Curtin mentioned Fabian “has had a good couple weeks.” Fabian’s progress has been closely monitored as he battles back from nagging knocks. “He’s looked sharp in the brief game situations we’ve had him in on the field. Now it’s a matter of whether it’s against New England [Revolution] or New York City [FC] – you guys will see soon enough,” said Curtin.
But how soon is ‘soon enough’?
Time will tell of course but it’s still a shining bright spot for Philadelphia to have their prized possession back in the mix.
“This next stretch – I keep telling the guys – that two weeks are going to go by and you’re going to look up and there’s only going to be 10 games left,” said Curtin. “We want to try to take as many points as possible in this next stretch of games.”
It’s basically now or never for this successful Union club. Curtin knows it. His players know it. It’s time to get after it.
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Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union