Philadelphia Union manager Jim Curtin is excited for Saturday's rivalry game against New York Red Bulls.
The Red Bulls come into the game just a point above the Union but six places higher. Curtin knows that his team is in for a difficult evening and was not short of praise for Saturday's opponents.
Curtin said: "We know the challenge ahead, and I think they’re a very well-coached and organised team. They’re one that presses together. They’ve been very good with or without the ball, and credit to their coach for having them organised.
"We expect a very tough match in our building. We will have to be very good in both boxes because that’s what it’ll come down to."
Saturday will be the first time that Curtin will face off with new Red Bulls manager Gerhard Struber. Despite being with the club for a short period, Struber has gained the plaudits from the Union boss.
He said: "I think [Gerhard] Struber has done a fantastic job coming into a new environment. They’ve added some pieces and different personnel, but he’s from the Red Bull philosophy. You can tell how well his team is trained and how well he has done coaching them.
"In terms of them getting pressure to the ball and making things uncomfortable, as recently as their Toronto game, they made Toronto feel pressure all over the field, which was clear on the tape. One of the other things is that they play the 4-4-2 diamond that we haven’t run into."
The Union come into the game off the back of a 1-1 draw against the New England Revolution on Wednesday.
Teal Bunbury's 85th-minute goal looked like sealing all three points for the Revolution until Kacper Przybylko equalised just three minutes later.
Curtin knew just how crucial the goal was and believes that it shows the strong mentality within the squad. The Union manager knows that late goals in important moments will play a key role in their title aspirations.
Saturday's fixture will be Philadelphia's seventh game in 19 days. Their strenuous schedule has not been helped by the injuries and suspensions within the squad.
However, Curtin praised the way his team has been able to remain on top of their game despite the lack of rest.
He said: "They’ve played in high-intensity games against really good teams in both the Champions League and the start to the regular season. That part has been hard, and they’ve answered the bell every time, and they’ve been up for the challenge."
There was some concern for Wednesday's hero as Przybylko was on the injury report with an ankle sprain. Fortunately, Curtin had some positive news on that front.
Curtin said: "He took a good knock in the New England game, which was a very physical game. He’ll be available for selection and will certainly, play a role in the game. He trained fine today.”
New signing Stuart Findlay had been absent from the last few games with injury, but the Union boss also had positive news on his status.
He said: "He’s still available for selection on the weekend. I think he will be in the team in the 20-man roster. To start right now, I don’t think he’s quite ready for that, but he’s available for selection, and things are fine there."
With the fixtures coming thick and fast during this stretch, Curtin has not had the luxury to make wholesale changes.
Despite this, he is hoping that he can give some of his players rest with their hectic schedule coming to an end.
Curtin said: "We will find a little window to get a couple of guys that’re fresh out there, but you won’t see seven or eight changes."