The Union ended the month of May with an impressive win at home against the Portland Timbers. Coach spoke after the 3-0 victory, and I've highlighted a few notes below.
Jim started the press conference by applauding his roster for achieving their team goals at this point in the season. The Union have climbed the table and find themselves in second place in the Eastern Conference. They now enter a long break before their next MLS match against Atlanta United.
When asked about Kacper and his recent stretch of goal scoring, Jim stated, "Kacper is a natural goal scorer. He has a knack for being at the right place at the right time, and that is not a coincidence, that is years of hard work from him". Przybylko has done well scoring in both MLS and CONCACAF play. Hopefully he can continue his production after the break.
Unlike Union teams of past, this current roster is much more dangerous when in a set piece. That was evident from last night's collection of goals off a free kick and two corners. Coach Curtin talked about his team's production. "We've been spending a lot more time on them, offensively and defensively, and the staff's done a really great job with that". Jim also emphasized that the roster focused on set pieces prior to the season.
Paxten Aaronson made his MLS debut Sunday night, and the crowd loudly chanted "We Want Paxten" prior to his number being called. Jim jokingly said he had been "bullied into that" before he more seriously spoke about his homegrown players. "With the young guys, nothing is ever handed to them. We don't just hand debuts out. We don't just hand them minutes. They earn everything". Coach also praised Quinn Sullivan and his progress on the training pitch. The Union certainly have a strong system in place for their emerging players, and it will be exciting to see how the homegrowns develop and earn more minutes.
All About The Bird's Dave Miller asked Jim about the Union's success on set pieces, but primarily about Kacper's involvement in those attacks. Curtin went on to say, "Kacper is certainly a guy with his size and his ability around the goal that we want to target". Przybylko is not only scoring goals, but he's creating opportunities for his teammates. It is understated how important Kacper is for this roster moving forward.
Finally, when discussing the travel of players during the break, Jim had a small slip up when talking about his staff. Gazdag is returning to play for Hungary, and Jim then stated, "He'll [Gazdag] be gone. Jose, Andre, Alvas, Cory are involved with their national teams, Mbaizo as well." When asked about the mentioning of Alvas' name, Curtin admitted he had mistakenly done so. Powell has recently been linked as a possible addition for the Philly roster, and Coach confirmed that he has indeed been training with the team of late. The Union faithful will certainly be eager to hear Powell's name again as the season continues.
Another great win for the Union, and we will all anxiously wait for the Atlanta match on June 20th. In order to keep this roster ready, Coach confirmed that Philly will be playing NYCFC on June 11th in a friendly.
- Mike Barrera (mbarrera1323)