After collecting the first win of the season last weekend in Montreal, Philadelphia Union is back at Subaru Park this weekend for a Saturday night contest. Ahead of the match against the San Jose Earthquakes, Head Coach Jim Curtin talked Thursday about this weekend’s match up and the battle the club has with the Earthquakes.. These are our Founders Brewing Co. Pressing Points.
With the Starting XI was announced a hour before the Boys in Blue took to the pitch in Montreal, Curtin made the bold move to start homegrown Nathan Harriel in place of last year’s start Olivier Mbaizo. Curtin said that not only did Harriel rise to the challenge but it had larger meaning.
“It sends a message to the group,” Curtin said as he echoed his postgame comments from the weekend. “Everybody has to recognize you have to do your job each and every week. We have real capable guys that are pushing for minutes.”
Harriel turned in a strong 90 minutes in Canada as the 20-year-old fought back from a deflected goal to lead the team in interceptions and aerial duels won as Montreal attacked the outside backs the entire match.
Gritty San Jose
You don’t have to look that far back in history to see the heart and resilence that this weekend’s opponent has. Trailing by a pair of goals and down a man after Jamiro Monteiro was sent off, the Quakes battled back for a 3-3 draw in the final minutes.
“It’s a unique opponent and one we don’t get the opportunity of playing too often,” Curtin said. “The always creates a lot of chances sometimes they take a lot of risk, sometimes they leave themselves exposed in the back and they play man for man.”
Through two matches the Earthquakes lead the league in goals allowed with Red Bulls and Columbus each netting three goals each. Despite the offensive attack that could thrive between Mikael Uhre, Cory Burke and Sergio Santos, Curtin did stress that the match will come down the Union’s patience in the attack and being organized defensively in transition.
Jim Curtin not only spoke about the upcoming game and the opponent San Jose. Former Union player Ilsinho announced his retirement this week. Curtin could not stop praising the Brazilian that spent six seasons with the Boys in Blue.
“I can’t say enough good things about Ilsinho,” Curtin said with a smile. “We are really lucky to have had Ilsinho here because he is such a special person and a great teammate in the locker room”.
Curtin did say that he hopes that Ilsinho will choose to stay with the organization in a future role one day but hopes that the fans can give him the send off he deserves on Saturday night at Subaru Park.
Philadelphia Union faces off against San Jose on Saturday, March 12th. Kick off is set for 7:30 p.m. ET with coverage on PHL17 and PhiladelphiaUnion.com.