Curtin Call | Gritty Three Points

#PHIvATL | Jim Curtin

Philadelphia Union defeated Atlanta United 3-2 in front of a roaring Subaru Park crowd on Wednesday night, adding three important points to their season total with just two regular season matches remaining. Head Coach Jim Curtin met with the media after the final whistle, recapping the match.

Trio up top

The trio up top set the pace for the game early, with all three of Philadelphia’s top goal scorers finding the back of the net in the first half. Mikael Uhre, Julián Carranza, and Daniel Gazdag created a momentous 3-0 lead going into the second ‘45 that carried them through the final whistle to grab three points despite Atlanta’s second half spurt. C

“We're gonna go when those three go, right? When they get hot, they're a handful you guys saw that last summer where it was a plus 46 goal differential,” Curtin said.

The three accounted for eight of the team’s 14 first half shots and one iconic flamingo goal celebration, piling pressure on Atlanta’s defense in the closing minutes of the first half.

“I said in the pregame talk to go as the front two do, they set the tone. When they go, the other eight will follow behind them. I thought that overall you know, that's the front three between Uhre, Carranza, and Gazdag, when they get going that's what they can do.”

Martinez makes his return

Before the match, Curtin’s plan for José Martinez was to send him out for just 30 minutes, easing him back onto the pitch after two weeks of recovery from a bone bruise. But when fellow Venezuelan Jesús Bueno went down early, Martinez replaced him in a big way, playing 78 instead. 

“You wind up having to use José [Martinez] in a situation that we hoped he’d get 30 minutes tonight maybe at the most and yet he stepped in and did an amazing job. Not the way we wanted it to go but again there's no plan in this game that's gonna go 100% according to how you draw it up. Guys adapted, adjusted, survived, and we got a big three points.”

Despite missing multiple matches, Martinez stayed sharp, stepping up similarly to the way his teammates had for him in his absence. 

“I give him a ton of credit for coming in a little bit rusty, a little bit away from the game for a little while. But he stepped in and did amazing job for us tonight, playing more minutes than I had anticipated.”

Momentum maker 

With the win, the Union bumped up to third in the Eastern Conference standings with 54 points, strengthening their likelihood of claiming home field advantage in the playoffs. Despite tired bodies, card accumulation, and two more crucial games looming, Philadelphia Union claimed three points at home in what Curtin described as a ‘full team effort.’

“At this stage of the season, it's important to stick together and grind – credit to the guys for doing that,” Curtin said. 

Wednesday’s gameday roster saw the return of Jakob Glesnes, Leon Flach, and Jose Martinez; pending injuries, Curtin could have the entire lot of players available for selection on Saturday with Kai Wagner’s return from accumulation suspension.

“This group, I'll take in a three-game series, in a one-game series against anybody. So if we get everybody back, get some momentum now in these last two, recover a little bit before the playoffs, we're a tough team to beat – that remains the truth. We can beat anybody.

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