Pressing Points

Pressing Points | Back to the basics


Philadelphia Union Head Coach Jim Curtin and his squad have shifted their focus toward Major League Soccer play, which will resume in an inaugural matchup against Austin FC at Q2 Stadium on Saturday night.

Back to the basics

Tuesday’s result was an unfavorable one for the Philadelphia Union, and Curtin began his pre match press conference by sharing a glimpse into the mindset of his team and what they’ve done to move forward after the tough loss. 

“Now we’re getting back to the basics, doing the little things that make us a strong group. Whether that be you know, keeping it a little more compact, running and fighting, challenging for second balls. We got out competed and that's usually not the case with this group,” Curtin said. 

“Getting back to those basic principles that we always talk about – I've had some healthy discussions, good film, and we'll move on and look towards Austin.”

Carranza comeback

Curtin announced that Julian Carraza would make his return to the starting XI on Saturday, joining the group for first kick for the first time since their home opener against Chicago Fire. He subbed on in their last match against Pachuca on Tuesday, playing 45 minutes, but he’ll be back in full force for the team’s first-ever trip to Q2 Stadium. 

“He's fully fit and ready to go,” Curtin said. 

“It's good to have all players now to choose from for this game.”

Saturday’s match will be the last time Curtin will have his entire group available for selection for some time, as National Team call-ups have begun and will leave him shorthanded and without starters. 

This is an important game because we lose about 10 players after this game. So it's going to be a disjointed start to the season because of Concacaf Champions Cup, because of injuries to Blake and Carranza. But this is our schedule, we have to deal with it, and we need to have a good performance. That's our biggest focus right now,” Curtin said. 

“Win, lose, or draw, let's look like us against Austin.”

Scouting Austin

Philadelphia Union and Austin FC met in preseason for a friendly matchup in St. Petersburg, so there will be a level of familiarity on the field come game time. In his press conference, Curtin gave a brief scouting report of their opponent, who hasn’t won a game yet in 2024.

“There’s some ideas, patterns, and movements in their formation that you understand and the way we like to play, how we can kind of counteract and take away their strengths and as best we can and kind of hide our weaknesses. There's definitely things you learned from the preseason,” Curtin said.  

“It is strange having never played Austin yet. They've been in the league for a little while. It'll be our first test here on the road, we recognize the atmosphere and their fans are incredible. They're going to be behind their team, they're going to be loud, and it's going to be a hostile environment. So we'll have to be on our game.”

The Texas side has missed one of their top players in Sebastián Driussi since the start of the season, and Curtin cited his absence as an area of weakness for Head Coach Josh Wolff’s group. On Wednesday, Wolff said he was hopeful the 28-year-old Argentine would play, but noted that he was still questionable to make a return. 

“They've been missing their key player Driussi. He's a top player in our league, a guy that if he does start, he really adds a ton to their attack, so we’d have to do a good job on him,” Curtin said.

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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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