You don’t want to face a Jim Curtin team in August. Twelve points in 2018 and another 12 in 2019, including Saturday’s epic 3-1 comeback victory over Atlanta United that smacked all the doubters square between the eyes that earned Curtin his fifth MLS Coach of the Week win this season? Yeah, Curtin has a groovy thing going in the dog days of summer.
On Saturday evening, Curtin had to deal with the absence of his leader and captain, Alejandro Bedoya, while sorting out a minor injury to Ilsinho late in the week. The Union head coach turned to veteran Marco Fabian and Fafa Picault, the latter coming off four straight matches without a start.
The response was everything Curtin could have hoped for. After a mucky first half hour, the Union grew into the match and slowly eased control away from the defending MLS Cup champs. A superb Josef Martinez goal could have knocked the wind out of Philly’s finest; instead first year player Brenden Aaronson — who has earned Curtin’s trust with his relentless work ethic — evened the scoreline before Kacper Przybylko and Sergio Santos finished things off.
Curtin’s decision to bring on Santos, a player that was coming off a red card at Bethlehem Steel and hadn’t affected a game in quite some time, was a shrewd response to Atlanta United’s willingness to leave their center backs isolated.
Curtin has been fearless in his choices in 2019, and the result is what Haris Medunjanin has called “a not-afraid team.”
Congratulations, Coach — you’ve absolutely earned all five Coach of the Week wins this season.