After a three-week break in league player the long way is finally over as Philadelphia Union returns to Subaru Park looking to continue its strong campaign. The season resumes against FC Cincinnati on Saturday, June 18th, with kick off set for 7:30 p.m. ET. Ahead of the match, Union Head Coach Jim Curtin returned to the media backdrop to talk the media about the upcoming opponent. These are our Founders Brewing Co. Pressing Points.
Saturday’s match will be bit of a Union homecoming with a collection of memorable faces suiting up for the Ohio side. Former Union Assistant Technical Direct Chris Albright is in charge as FC Cincinnati’s General Manager and is off to a strong start with Head Coach Pat Noonan with the side having already matched the most wins in club history with six. On the pitch, FC Cincinnati features Haris Medunjanin, Alvas Powell and Ray Gaddis.
“All played a big role in this club getting that first trophy and those are memories that we’ll have forever.” says Curtin about his former players. Nonetheless the friendship will be forgotten for 90 minutes.
“When the 90 minutes start we are all competitors. They are very organized, they create as many chances as any team in our league and you can see just how hard the players work.”
Friends will become foes though with Curtin challenging his squad to use the match in front of the Union faithful as a special one.
“We want to treat this game almost as a home opener and I ask the fans to treat it the same way as well,” Curtin said. “We need them to be loud. It has been a long time since we got the opportunity to play in front of them so we really look forward to this Saturday’s match.”
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The international break is coming to an end but it hasn’t just been training sessions for all the Boys in Blue with Andre Blake (Jamaica), Olivier Mbaizo (Cameroon), Daniel Gazdag (Hungary) and Jose Martinez (Venezuela) all playing for their national teams. Curtin did remark that he anticipates that the full group will be back in training on Thursday as the club does their final preparations for Saturday’s match. all not with the team for around two weeks. They will be back ahead of the match on Saturday.
However, four homegrowns will not be available Paxten Aaronson , Brandan Craig, Jack McGlynn and Quinn Sullivan all with the U.S. National Team for the Concacaf U-20 Championship.
“These guys were identified as key contributors for the group,” Curtin said when asked about the group. “The feedback that we have gotten is that they are doing well so far. And look, we’re a club that believes very much in youth development. To represent the national team is something we believe in” says Jim Curtin about their call up. Nonetheless it won’t make it easier for the Union without the players who have featured in key moments in MLS and MLS NEXT PRO.
“It’s a risk, we recognize that. We will be a little bit short handed. We will probably not have the full 20 on the bench but it’s a risk we are willing to take because it is the philosophy, the believe of the club.”
With the four players away, the opportunity for minutes could present itself for other players Curtin did say.
“I am excited for guys like Matt Real who has been training incredibly and has been training a little bit more in advance for all on that left side of the diamond. Something you could see. Jesus Bueno and Cole Turner are working really hard too.”