Curtin Call

Curtin Call | First win out west


Philadelphia Union defeated Portland Timbers 3-1 in dominant fashion on Saturday night, capitalizing on their trip out West to bring home three points by way of a Julian Carranza brace and a Quinn Sullivan rebound goal. After the match, Head Coach Jim Curtin spoke with the media, recapping the team’s first win of the season.


Curtin’s squad landed in Portland with just 16 players in their travel party, missing eight names from their typical gameday roster due to national team call-ups. In the face of personnel adversity against a newly fortified squad that added a Liga MX star in Jordan Rodriguez just days before, Philadelphia shined, earning their first three points of the year.

“We talked in the pregame about being short handed, but I promised the players if they gave maximum effort, I was certain we would get a result and bring points back to Philadelphia,” Curtin said. 

“Another thing we said in the pregame, 11 guys together can beat any group of individual talent. And I thought that the players executed really, really well.”

Stepping up

Curtin shared that the team was playing in a flat 4-4-2, which isn’t their usual look, and they did so with two players in the starting xi, who finished the match having played the most minutes of their Major League Soccer careers in Markus Anderson and Jeremy Rafanello. 

“Rafanello quietly had a great game in the middle of the field, not an easy assignment. Markus playing out a position where when he's defending he's basically a wide midfielder. We told him when we won the ball, he’d be like a left winger, We said the same thing for Rafa,” Curtin said. 

“It's a flat four, but when we win the ball, can you go a little higher into the 10 spot? So there was some fluidity and flexibility with it, but most importantly we wanted to be tough to break down.”

Saturday’s match was the first of multiple occasions in which the team’s roster will be a thin one due to soccer’s busy 2024 slate of international competitions and it provided a chance for depth players to prove why their name should be called the next time a chance to contribute arises.

“It's an audition for a lot of guys. It's a test for a lot of guys. And a lot of them pass tonight,” Curtin said. 

“I think we learned a lot about some guys. Rafa really gave us good minutes, Markus gave us good minutes, Oliver gave us good minutes in goal with some big key saves. Sometimes it's a blessing that they're getting these minutes now because you're right, this summer, we're going to miss them again, to the international windows. Every team in this league, and every fan wants to watch all the best players be here. The reality is we play through these breaks, sometimes it hurts other teams, some teams more than others. Certainly it depleted us quite a bit, but overall, our group rallied, didn't complain, rolled up their sleeves, and got a result.”

First win

The Union emerged with their first three-point result of the season, finally adding a tally to the win column after starting the Major League Soccer season with three draws and a postponed match. Curtin emphasized the importance a win is to morale.

"Four games...we want more wins, of course. But we haven't been beaten yet,” Curtin said. 

Now we get to go home after playing three out of four league games on the road, so we're pretty good there, and hopefully, we can have a good performance against Minnesota. This can give us some confidence. Winning is what it's all about in this sport and that was the big three points.”

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Every match matters! In 2024, you do not want to miss your favorite matchups as the Union take on the best MLS has to offer! When we score, make sure you are there to get Subaru Park shaking!

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