After the midweek setback Philadelphia Union will go on the road again with a trip to Columbus on Sunday night for a battle against the Crew. Ahead of the trip Philadelphia Union Head Coach Jim Curtin spoke with the media as they look to start a new unbeaten streak this weekend. These are our Founders Brewing Co. Pressing Points.
Response after Chicago
After taking just the second loss of the season via 1-0 road result against Chicago Fire FC, the Union look to respond against Columbus who present a difficult challenge despite their record
“It is a really well coached team, a tought team to break down, very good with the ball,” Curtin said. “On the road in this league it is always difficult, I think our guys know that.”
While Columbus finds itself looking up at the Union in the Eastern Conference, they have started to come alive with a four-game unbeaten streak under the direction of Head Coach Caleb Porter
“They are starting to get guys back healthy and get going again. And they are a Champion, if you don’t forget, not to long ago, and a really dangerous, good talented team.”
Nonetheless Jim Curtin is optimistic that the team gives a good response after the Chicago game: “We recognize, Wednesday night was not good enough. This group has always a good response and I have no doubt that that will be the case on Sunday.”
The Boys in Blue will be without midfielder Jose Martinez for the weekend after he was sent off for a pair of yellow cards against the Fire.
“It changes the way we play,” Curtin said on Friday. “Jose is a guy that is one of the few guys in our league that can play the diamond by himself and can do the work of a couple of guys but we believe strongly in our depth.”
Brujo’s absence is just adds the players unavailable to Curtin with four homegrowns preparing for a major showdown on Friday evening with the U.S. U-20s. One positive that Curtin noted was the return to training for midfielder Jesus Bueno who has been recovering from a calf injury.
On Bueno’s possible return on Sunday Curtin quickly responded that “he`ll be part of the group that will go to Columbus for sure.”
Belief in the depth
With limited available players, the opportunity presents itself to grab key minutes in MLS and forward Chris Donovan is a prime example. After playing well with Union II in MLS NEXT Pro competition, the Drexel graduate was signed for a MLS deal just before the team’s match against FC Cincinnati. Curtin said he happy with the performance from the team’s newest forward.
“Chris is been a great story. He came in and really helped us. Unfortunately it was down a man also and we had to play a little different role that we have hoped but at the same time he gives you a really good arial game, really good speed to get him behind and he is a guy that has been dangerous and scored goals for Union II.”
It shows that the coaching staff around head coach Jim Curtin believes in the depth of not only the first team. Olivier Mbaizo, who subbed in at the second half against Chicago, shows the depth in the roster of the Union.
“He came in with good energy, gave us some possession with the ball. You know, Nate has locked a lot of minutes and played against some really good opponents so sometimes with young players they need a little bit of a mental break as much as anything and also a physical one cause he has locked a lot of minutes for us.” says Jim Curtin about the change on the right back position.