Pressing Points

Pressing Points | Double Game Week


Philadelphia Union is back at Subaru Park after extending their unbeaten road streak, and they are looking to grab all three points at home. Before Wednesday’s important match against Canadian-side Toronto FC, Head Coach Jim Curtin spoke with the media, previewing the clash to come.

Toronto’s Turnaround

Toronto FC has had an impressive turnaround under former Canadian National Team manager, John Herdman. Before the halfway mark, the Reds are two goals away from beating their goal tally from last season and currently sit sixth in the table. Curtin praises Herdman for Toronto’s strong run of play this season and commitment on the pitch.

“They're playing very, very hard for him right now, they're never out of a game. They attack together, they defend together, they have a real spirit in their group. And that's the coach that it comes down to, number one, getting your star players to buy in, you can see how hard they work, even the vision of Insigne coming off the field with him almost upset after the game, you could tell how much it means to them. So that is something that isn't easy as a coach to get right away. And they've had some good results to get that belief and buy in,” Curtin said.

“He [Herdman] has created a club where it's still in the early stages of him being there, but you can see all the differences because it's a lot of the same personnel.”

In the beginning of Herdman’s first full season, The Reds have won nearly twice the amount of games before reaching the halfway mark compared to 2023.

“It's a really strong team, I think the quality that they have, they sprinkled in some new pieces, a good job for them. So again, I think that the coach deserves a ton of credit, it starts at the top with him. He has set a real standard there. And you can tell how they play that they play the right way, with the ball and without the ball in transitions. They're a really strong team.”

Heading into International Break

With the Euros and Copa América right around the corner, this week’s two home matches are important for the Union to create momentum going into the international break. Union’s leading goal scorer, Dániel Gazdag, is among those players who will be representing the Union at the international level this summer.

“Danny's a big one to miss. It's nine goals this year, you know, and could be even even even more. So that's a big mess. For sure. Again, when any team loses a top, top player, it hurts,” Curtin said.

Although Union will be missing the Hungarian star, it is an opportunity for other players to rise to the occasion and make their marks.

“It's 11 players versus 11, right, it's not just one or two guys, other guys will get an opportunity to step up. And you'll see during this stretch, some guys are gonna really surprise us and rise to the occasion. Inevitably, someone's going to maybe regress and take a step back. And that's just the way that seasons go. That's the way soccer works. But we want to have more guys take a step forward to help the group in a hard time in a busy stretch in the in the summer months where you can make up ground and move up the table.” Curtin added. “These next two home games are really important for us before we go into that break.”

Continuing the Shutout Streak

Following back-to-back shoutouts against Charlotte FC and New England Revolution, Philadelphia Union is looking to continue their two game shutout streak Wednesday night. Curtin speaks to the importance of clean sheets for his side.

“Getting shutouts is important to our group. Those clean sheets become very important for player confidence for everyone to feel committed on the defensive side of the ball. Zero is something that we take very seriously in training, not conceding goals and now having to translate to the game.”

Although Union has uncharacteristically dropped points at home this season, Curtin is still optimistic about the progress of his squad.

“We've done a better job of that [clean sheets], we're still not perfect, still got a lot we can improve on. But we'll continue to try to get better and better each week. And if we get a third consecutive one, that's a good thing.”

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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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