We are almost to the end of the very long international break! While the Euros and Copa America are dominating soccer fans’ attention, there’s plenty of Union news that has dropped this week. This gives us at Philly Sports Network the opportunity to bring back our Doop Roundup series. Here’s all that’s going on for the Union right now in Doop Roundup 6/17/2021.
Doop Roundup 6/17/2021
There have been four major headlines that have surfaced over the last few days for the Philadelphia Union. Dániel Gazdag is leaving the Hungarian men’s national team at Euro 2020 to come back to Philadelphia after an apparent knee injury. Reigning MLS coach of the year, Jim Curtin, has signed a two-year contract extension! Sporting Director Ernst Tanner’s services have been requested by some European teams, but he chose to stay in Philly. Some rostered players are set to receive green cards, opening up spots for potential transfers! The Union is returning from the international break, and start a stretch of three games in seven days this coming Sunday. Let’s dive in a bit to each of these headlines.
Dániel Gazdag’s knee injury
Dániel Gazdag left Euro 2020 due to an injury. The injury was undisclosed at first, but Union head coach Jim Curtin cleared that up in a recent press conference that he and Ernst Tanner gave.
Scans we’re completed with Hungary and there’s no damage to the knee or the ligaments. Curtin mentioned that it’s not a significant injury, and the knock happened with Hungary in their pre-Euro 2020 training. Sporting director Ernst Tanner stepped in and mentioned that he thinks that the injury is likely due to the overload of matches he’s played in the past year.
To that point, while this injury is likely a short-term setback, it would be silly to rush Gazdag back into play with the Union. He will need to be managed well to keep him healthy for the crucial CCL run and later in the regular season. Jim and his staff have their work cut out for them moving forward.
Jim Curtin’s Contract extension
The Union announced on Wednesday that they reached an agreement with head coach Jim Curtin on a two-year contract extension! This will make him the Union coach until the completion of the 2023 season!
Ernst Tanner said in the press conference that the club’s success put this as the logical next step to extend Curtin. When asked about it Curtin said that he is thrilled to continue to develop and play the young talent this team has. He also mentioned his dream to coach abroad, but that he wanted to win more than one trophy with Philly before that is realized.
Speaking of winning more, seeing the Union’s trajectory with Curtin at the helm has to indicate that over the next few years there will be the opportunity for more trophies. Curtin’s aspirations show the club is truly ready to contend now and over the next two years for silverware. Another huge reason for this readiness is Ernst Tanner.
Ernst Tanner almost left? Can he work more Magic?
Speaking to the press about his contract extension, Jim Curtin said that Ernst Tanner was recruited by top European clubs, but that he chose to stay in Philly. This likely had a huge part to do with Curtin signing his extension and shows Tanner’s willingness to stick with the challenge of being the sporting director at Philadelphia Union.
This is a huge deal. If a top European club comes to recruit a sporting director of an MLS club, usually you’d see that person leave. Ernst has been over in Europe before. His decision to move to the States to build the Union into a contender has been fruitful. He’s seen how the fans, city, and team have embraced him. He’s been able to build a culture and system in Philly. Now that he not been recruited, we should see him push to get even better players in to help win championships.
Tanner talked about this as much in a recent presser. He mentioned players getting green cards, to open up spaces. I’d assume that this would need to be done soon, as the transfer window opens in July. The Union will most definitely need reinforcements later in the season. The players have had little rest over the last year. This can result in more injuries without a proper rest time. Can Tanner make more magic and find more diamonds in the rough to make this team a title contender.
Three games in seven days
Philly has a truly brutal start to their return to MLS action. They go to Atlanta on Sunday, return home to face Columbus on Wednesday, and go to Chicago next Saturday.
This tough stretch could determine if the Union is still near the top of the eastern conference after just one week back to play. We took a deeper dive into how getting points from all three matches is essential in a separate article so check that one out here:
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Mandatory Credit: PHILADELPHIA UNION, ANDREW ZWARYCH