Curtin previews monumental matchup against Miami


On Tuesday evening, Philadelphia Union will host Inter Miami CF and superstar Lionel Messi in a contentious Semifinal matchup to decide which club will advance to the first-ever Leagues Cup final.

After the Boys in Blue's last training before the monumental matchup, Head Coach Jim Curtin met with the media, previewing what’s to come for his team as they prepare to play in front of a sold-out Subaru Park crowd.

Injury Updates

Philadelphia Union have remained unbeaten through their entire Leagues Cup campaign despite fielding a less than full force roster due to injuries. Team captain Alejandro Bedoya has been out since the start of the tournament, instead rehabbing a lingering quadriceps injury and Daniel Gazdag was out for the team’s most recent match against Queretaro because of a grade 1 knee sprain.

Favorably for the Union, Curtin announced that both midfielders will both be available to play against Miami.

“[Daniel] will participate fully. He trained today fully and looked great. Happy to have him back and it's a relief that it wasn't more serious. He’s Hungarian. He’s tough by nature and he’s not missing this one,”” Curtin said.

Gazdag has been a fixture of the team’s offense this MLS regular season with 9 goals and 9 assists, and even though he missed a game, he leads the team with four Leagues Cup goals.

As for Bedoya, his availability will fortify an already robust roster, adding seven years of experience to the sideline during a spotlight game.

“It’s great to have [Ale] Bedoya back and he’ll be available to us. Is 90 minutes realistic? Of course not. But now he is coming back into the team and to add him into the group in such a big-pressure semifinal, it’s a great weapon to have and utilize off the bench,” Curtin said.

Curtin provided an update on Julián Carranza as well – he exited the game in the 76th minute of the team’s Friday quarterfinal due to a grade 1 hamstring sprain.

“Julian is another one that would do anything to not miss this one against Miami, against a fellow countryman on the other team that’s really good at soccer,” Curtin said.

“That's probably the best news we could have got. I'll just say he's still pushed on the side of things and I haven't heard back yet exactly how that went, but he wants to still participate tomorrow. Probably won't be from the start, but if he's around even to take a penalty kick or or run around for a little bit of time without the risk of further injury, we'll see where that stands.”

Game Plans for the GOAT

While many eyes will be locked on Lionel Messi, when the whistle blows, the team’s game plan could be centered around another player in pink. On Monday, Curtin gave new insight to his team’s game plan, citing Sergio Busquets as the one to stop.

“Everyone is talking about Messi and that's natural and he's been incredible. For an athlete to deliver over and over in every big pressure moment again and again for his team, it has been amazing to watch. But if you don't take away Busquets and cut away the service, if you look at every goal they've scored this year, he either plays the pass that leads directly to the goal, or the pass that leads to the pass that leads to the goal. So he's really, really, obviously easier said than done, a tough guy to get around because he's so intelligent,” Curtin said.

“I've talked all week about if Messi receives the ball, it's too late. We're in trouble. We've messed up if he receives the ball at his feet. So can we now, in a smart way, try to cut out the weapons that get him the ball on the ground. And it starts with with Busquets being that anchor of the team.

Representing Philadelphia

There is the chance to compete for a title on the line, and with people from all corners of the world watching, Curtin emphasized the importance of representing the club and it’s values on an international stage.

“Number one is that we're proud of what this badge has grown to represent. I think it's a team and identity that is authentic. It's true to the city of Philadelphia. It's one that I think our fans have been very proud of through the years. For those that are maybe tuning in for the first time over the last five seasons, we've actually won the most points in this league,” Curtin said.

The past several seasons have seen some of the most successful moments in club history, namely earning Supporters’ Shield win in 2020 and an MLS Cup appearance in 2022. Curtin’s goal in to remain on that trajectory and add another accolade to their lot.

“We want to try to win as many trophies as possible and this is an opportunity to get to another final. Then ultimately, we want to lift the trophy for our fans. That's what it's about. I think that's why our players play. Everybody's motivated by different thing,” Curtin said.

“I said from day one, there's a trophy on the line. There's a Champions Cup berth on the line and there's the biggest financial reward that our league’s ever had. That motivates players as well. So everybody's excited for it. Again, it's been really fun. It's great to be in the Final Four. I think 47 teams that entered this thing and we're into the final four now so we're happy with that achievement, but it's okay to be a little greedy now and try to win one more game to get to a final.”

The winner of Tuesday’s match will advance to the final game on Saturday, August 19.

On Sale Now!

On Sale Now!

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!

Stay in the Know
Stay in the Know


The Boys in Blue, delivered to your inbox. Tickets, deals, giveaways, and more.