Ahead of Saturday afternoon’s match against CF Montreal, Philadelphia Union Head Coach Jim Curtin spoke with the media on Thursday about the club’s first road game of the season. These are our Founders Brewing Co. Pressing Points.
Uhre will play a role in this weekends match
After watching the Union’s 2022 opener against Minnesota FC from the stands of Subaru Park, Mikael Uhre will make his debut with the club on Saturday.
"He’ll be ready no question about it," Curtin said. “He’s had a good week of training with the group and he is still getting used to his team mates but he’s shown really well in training.”
While the forward will need some time to gel with his new teammates, Uhre’s experience in Denmark could be crucial in the road match that will take place at Stade Olympique on a turf pitch. Many league matches for the Danish striker were on the alternate surface and could lead to a memorable debut if his training form carries over into the league match with Curtin saying that Uhre “He’s shown some really good movement in the box and scored a lot of goals this week.”
Building off the Opener
Despite taking just a point in the opener against the Loons, Curtin said that the match was what he expected given the short offseason and compact preseason slate. With the look of a “typical first game” Curtin gave his thoughts on where the Boys in Blue can improve for week 2.
“The effort was there but too many players ran out of position,” Curtin said of the squad’s performance.” “It has to be better against a well organized team from Montreal.”
CF Montreal comes in having played three competitive matches so far in 2022 with the season beginning much like the Union in 2021 with Concacaf Champions League. Curtin said that might be advantage since the Canadian side might have a fitness advantage but the club.
Curtin did remark that the squad is fully healthy including Sergio Santos who entered last week questionable but now the club is looking to just build up his fitness for the speedy forward.
As noted earlier, CF Montreal’s attention is currently split between MLS and CCL with the Union’s occurring just a few days before the club travels to Mexico for a showdown with Liga MX giants Club Azul. After advancing past Santos Laguna by a 3-1 aggregate, Montreal was held scoreless in their league opener at Orlando City SC, falling 2-0. Making things more difficult was starting forward Romell Quioto was sent off with a red card and thus will not play against the Union.
“When you see the red card happen it’s a little bit of a break because Quioto is a real weapon for them and a very dangerous attacker in our league,” Curtin said. “You look quickly down the depth chart and you see Kei Kamara who has scored everywhere he’s been in this league and knows the league very well.”
Curtin said the job by Wilfried Nancy is very unrated after taking over for Thierry Henry that has produced a brave side based upon their CCL performances. Djordje Mihailovic might be called upon to step up after scoring a goal and adding an assist in CCL play.
“Mihailovic is one of the key guys for them whether it is scoring goals or setting up goals,” Curtin said. “He can turn and get out of things so we will have to have an idea of where he is at on the field at all times.”
Philadelphia Union faces off against CF Montreal on Saturday, March 5th. Kick off is set for 4 p.m. ET with coverage on PHL17 and PhiladelphiaUnion.com.