It was a strange feeling having this team off on a Wednesday, but they deserved a much needed break. The Philadelphia Union have played 7 games in 3 weeks and are now able to catch their breath before Sundays matchup with DC United. Coach Curtin took to the podium on Wednesday afternoon and discussed a variety of topics. Here are a few highlights from Jim’s presser.
Although DC United has lost 3 of the last 4 games, Jim reinforced that this is not a team to be taken lightly. They have players coming back, and Coach thought they were a bit unfortunate vs Orlando (a 1-0 loss on 5/16). Specifically, Curtin praised Adrien Perez, "The kid has been relentless with his work rate, really wrong-foots defenders a lot, and has done a really good job for DC."
One of the biggest questions entering the season was this team's depth. They have several homegrown talents on the bench. As great as It is to have young talent, it’s concerning when your bench consists of a handful of inexperienced players. Curtin discussed Paxten’s development and what he’s seen from Brenden's younger brother. Jim stated, "Paxten Aaronson has taken a huge step in the last two weeks, which is something that I'm really excited by. His confidence has a little more quickness to him.....He looks more explosive, he looks more powerful, I think he's just comfortable around his teammates." Jim ended his praise for the Medford product by saying he may be debuting within the near future.
Kacper playing the 10
In their game against the Red Bulls, Jim pulled out a unique scoring attack of Santos, Burke, and Przybylko. When asked about Kacper's versatility, Jim went on to say, "Cory and Sergio can threaten and run behind and occupy the center backs and keep them pulled back. Kacper can arrive later in the box where he's a little more free and doesn't have two center backs draped on him like he often does." Jim continued to say the advantage it gives the offensive attack, and that this is a new layer that he wants to include with Przybylko, as well as Gazdag when he is in the lineup.
Playing on Short Rest
It is known that this team has gone through a tough schedule, and Jim was asked about the squad's resiliency and toughness. Curtin went on to praise his roster's work ethic, as well as their endurance. "The Red Bull game, when the data came back, was the most we've ran so far this season". Jim credited his sports performance department for their hard work.
Miro played in the 8, rather than the 10 against New York. Jim mentioned that his decision on Miro's position depends on the matchup that they face each week. That said, while playing the 8 against New York, Coach stated, "Jamiro could now pick up the ball 10-15 yards deeper where he could get on it and face the play, he could lift his head up and see things". Monteiro has been one of the best players this franchise has seen over the last few years, and his versatility in the lineup is crucial for the team's success.
Jim is optimistic that De Vries could be back into full training within the near future. Unfortunately, the same can't be said about Ilsinho. He underwent surgery on Tuesday, and he should be looking at a two month recovery window. Other than that, the roster appears to be fully healthy as they travel to DC.
The Union faithful will hope that their team can keep the winning momentum going this Sunday. The match is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.
- Mike Barrera (mbarrera1323 on Twitter)