The Philadelphia Union won its fourth straight contest on Saturday night in front of an electric home crowd at Subaru Park to close a very busy, but very successful three-game week. Head Coach Jim Curtin met with the media after the final whistle, recapping the victory.
Winning without the full roster
The Union escaped the week with no losses, despite playing each game without full roster availability.
Team captain Alejandro Bedoya has been recovering from a quadriceps strain suffered during training since May 19, and he has now missed four consecutive contests.
The team is also missing three homegrowns in Quinn Sullivan, Jack McGlynn, and Brandan Craig, who were called to the U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team for the 2023 FIFA U-20 World Cup.
“It's been a busy stretch, and we've done it without one of our best players in our captain Alejandro Bedoya. We've done it without the three great players that are away with our U-20s right now. So, it shows the quality that we have in this team and we're on a good little run here,” Curtin said.
On Sunday, the United States U-20 team lost to Uruguay in the quarterfinals, so the trio will soon return home to Philadelphia.
The recent success is a testament to the team’s depth, which was on display on Saturday in Curtin’s starting lineup which featured new faces and fresh legs.
‘The best strikers in the world are ruthless’
Julián Carranza finished the game with two goals on Saturday, sending the River End into a frenzy with each of his nine attempts.
He’s tallied an impressive five goals in the last four games, boosting his MLS season total to 9. There’s no question about it, Carranza’s on a hot streak, and Curtin wasn’t shy about diving into what has made him so impactful as of late.
“The best strikers in the world are ruthless, and I think Julian has that in him. I guarantee if you asked every center back that he banged into tonight, they feel him, you know what I mean? He's very, very physical,” Curtin said.
“The way he pressed, and defensively, the amount of tackles that he wins, the work rate, he was relentless for the 90 minutes, so he's getting better and better. It's always a dangerous thing. Because then you know what happens next.”
In addition to his brace, Carranza was relentless on defense totaling three recoveries, two interceptions and a tackle in the team’s shutout win.
“He's a striker that can score. He's a striker that presses. So if you're a team that likes to press, he's the dream for a coach.”
The forward has been a multipurpose centerpiece in Union wins in his second year with the club; in just two seasons he’s already become the sixth all-time scorer in the club’s 13-year history with 23 goals, and Curtin expects his play to only improve.
“He has that South American kind of savvy in front of the goal where he has a knack for running hard in the box. He's not afraid to put his body on the line to get a goal. So, really proud of the season Julian's had, it gets better and better,” Curtin said.
Jesus Bueno earns a start
Earlier in the week, Curtin applauded midfielder Jesús Bueno’s play off the bench, hinting to the possibility of starts in the future for the 24-year-old Venezuelan.
On Saturday, it came to fruition, as Bueno earned his second-ever MLS start against Montreal.
“Jesús, first of all, earned his minutes. He’s a guy that has had decisions go against him, hasn't gotten many opportunities to start, but I thought he did an excellent job. Shows our depth, shows his quality,” Curtin said.
“He's a starting caliber player on a heck of a lot of teams in this league. He just happens to have some good pieces in front of him, but our staff is trusting him more and more. He's trained his butt off every day, is a true professional, and I thought was excellent tonight.”