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Jim Curtin Pre LAFC

Philadelphia Union boss Jim Curtin spoke to the media ahead of his team's trip to LAFC on Saturday night.

The game will be a battle between the two leaders of the MLS's Conferences in what will be the Union's first trip to the West Coast since before COVID.

Saturday is a game that Curtin is excited about. He views games against teams in the Western Conference as an opportunity for his side to express themselves with less pressure of not playing in a six-pointer against a fellow Eastern Conference side. Despite the added incentive, he knows just how important every game is.

"It's going to be a great game, and I look forward to playing the Western Conference teams.. as there's maybe a little more freedom in those games. I'm not saying that they matter less, but taking points from Conference rivals can be more damaging in the outcome of who makes the playoffs."

The last time the two sides met was also in LA, a game fondly remembered by Union fans as the Jakob Glesnes breakout game. Glesnes scored a stunning free-kick as the game ended in a 3-3 draw.

The game also saw other players become stars in a Union shirt as Curtin believes that was the game that kick-started the special run his side has been on over the last two years.

"In a weird way, it kind of put our franchise into some real forward momentum. It was a really important game in our brief history, as strange as that sounds.

"I still love talking about this game because it was a crazy game for a lot of reasons. It was really entertaining, on national TV, and a great LAFC team.

"For us, we were kind of new-ish and still had a lot of unknowns. People knew that Andre Blake was great, but people didn't know who Jakob Glesnes was, but I think he kind of put us on the map with the goal he scored.

"Brendan Aaronson was still an up and coming player, but in that game, he played as fearless as anybody and made a name for himself and Philadelphia.

"I think that it put us on the map more than people realise. It led to us ultimately starting that run to win the Supporters Shield."

Saturday's match is the beginning of a busy seven days for the Union, who will play three games in a week. Curtin's side will play LAFC before facing Orlando City in the Open Cup before returning to MLS action against the Red Bulls at Subaru Park.

Some may find the hectic schedule unfair, but the Union boss is relishing the challenge. He admitted that this occurrence should be seen as part and parcel of the game, while the idea of squad rotation will come into play across the next three games.

"You have to find ways to make the right changes, keep fresh legs when possible, and do a great job with your recovery.

"We shouldn't talk as a league like it's crazy to play three games in a week because it happens all over the world. We won't use it as an excuse, but instead, we will use it as a challenge."

There is one player with an injury concern going into the game, and that is Sergio Santos. After missing the trip to Nashville, Curtin gave an update on the forward's availability ahead of Saturday night.

"He's returned to training and has looked good in the last two days. We're still being cautious as to how much he will be available for. I think he might be able to make it for LA, but at the latest, he will play a role in Orlando."

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