Ahead of Philadelphia Union traveling to Clearwater, Florida for phase two of the preseason, Head Coach Jim Curtin met with the media to provide team updates. Here are some of the key takeaways.
Goals highlight Intrasquad Scrimmage
The Union concluded their week of training with a competitive 45-minute intrasquad scrimmage at the Power Training Complex. The teams were evenly split, as evidenced by the 3-3 final score, seeing the club’s veteran players and some new faces contributing to the goals on the day.
Cory Burke paced all players contributing on all of his side’s goals, converting two of his own while assisting on the third. Additionally, Kacper Przybylko, Ale Bedoya, Anthony Fontana, and Quinn Sullivan all added goals of their own. With Matt Freese away at the U23 USMNT training camp, Andre Blake and Joe Bendik faced off as the keepers during the scrimmage.
Consistent with the Union’s style of play team play led to most of those goals.
“A lot of the principles we are working on came up in all those goals,” Curtin said. “We talk about a lot we like to score team goals. The veterans I’m really impressed with and the young guys are having really good moments. Overall a lot of good starting points for guys and things we can improve on as the preseason continues.”
As Curtin disclosed last week Sergio Santos suffered a torn ligament in his big toe which will keep him out of action for a couple of weeks. “He is disappointed but he is attacking his rehab quickly, the hope is that he bounces back a little bit quicker.”
Additionally, Jose Martinez was experiencing soreness in his knee causing Curtin to keep him out of cation today. “Jose had a little soreness in his knee but we don’t think it will be bad. We kept him out today, but he will be travelling to Florida with us.” This does not appear to be a cause for concern for the Union as Curtin anticipates “Jose will be right back in training on day one in Clearwater.”
Both Jose and Sergio will be travelling to Clearwater with the team and will be working with the Union’s strong sport performance department. Though they are anticipating a timely return for Jose, the team anticipates Santos’ return to be slower as they “don’t want to push too hard too fast” with his rehabilitation.
Chemistry Rising at Center Back
Stuart Findlay still has yet to arrive to camp with the Union as he is sorting out his visa. A considerably more difficult process than in years past given the pandemic for those who remember Cory Burke’s struggle last season to rejoin the team. In the absence of Findlay, Curtin was praising his current center back pairing in Jakob Glesnes and Jack Elliott.
“We have the two center backs that are here that are very experienced with each other and compliment each other very well,” Curtin said. “They have won us a lot of games and a lot of points here in MLS already. I’m good with where that relationship is at.”
According to Curtin both Glesnes and Elliott are in “really good form” however, right now the team is a little thin at center back without Findlay. The hope is that he will arrive to camp as soon as possible. If Findlay is not able to arrive in time to get fit for the matches against Saprissa, the team will have a plan in place to have cover for their two strong center backs in Glesnes and Elliott.
The Union head to Clearwater to begin the 2021 MLS preseason later this week. The Union will kick off the preseason with a closed-door scrimmage against Orlando City at 12pm ET on March 15th.