Ahead of the Philadelphia Union’s final preseason match against D.C. United, Head Coach Jim Curtin spoke with the media to provide updates on the team. Here are our Pressing Points presented by Founders Brewing Co.
Medical Report continues to grow
The injury bug continues to plague the Union this preseason leaving the club particularly thin at the striker position. Sergio Santos is still recovering from his toe injury. Though his rehab is still going according to plan the team are not rushing him back to avoid reaggravating the injury.
Meanwhile Kacper Przybylko has been out of training for the last 8-10 days with a back injury but the club is hoping he’ll be able to return to training soon.
“Kacper received an injection in his back and that is something that timeline wise will speed things up but it does keep him out of training,” Curtin said. “If everything goes smooth then he should return next week as we go into the final stages of preparation of the game.”
Cory Burke still has not logged a single minute in preseason matches and is still not training with the group as he deals with a groin injury. He will not be available for the match against D.C. United tomorrow. Curtin also noted that given the team’s timeline it is unrealistic that he will be able to flip the switch and be 90-minute fit for their match against Saprissa.
Also out of action will be homegrown Jack De Vries as Curtin announced he had sustained a concussion and will be in league’s concussion protocol.
There was some brighter news as Jose “El Brujo” Martinez returned to training on Tuesday from an ankle injury. Curtin said the plan is to give the midfielder some minutes against D.C. United to see how his ankle holds up. He will be joining the team in Florida and hopefully ready for Saprissa on April 7th. Lastly, Stuart Findlay has arrived and joined the team for training today. He will be available for the Saprissa game, though it remains to be seen how much of a role he will play coming off of a lengthy break from action.
Bedoya helping young squad
With long list of injuries heading into the much-anticipated Concacaf Champions League match against Deportivo Saprissa, the club has a much thinner lineup Curtin’s mentality hasn’t wavered. “It’s not about who isn’t with us, it’s about who is with us.” The team’s philosophy of building talent from the Academy some of their new young guns tested in Costa Rica on April 7th. These new heads are going to be well prepared for the challenge thanks to the leadership and guidance they have received from their veterans, namely captain Alejandro Bedoya.
“He is a key example of keeping everyone moving in the right direction. Rather than complain about it or get mad when a young guy make a mistake, he helps them.” said Curtin. Where a few years ago veterans may have felt threatened or irritated by the youth movement this group, led by Bedoya, has really embraced that equity.
Bedoya has seen the fruits of the Union academy system’s labor and knows that they produce well equipped players to take the field. “More times than not when you throw good young American players out there, they rise to the occasion. They step up in a big way. That’s been what they have done for our club. They have rewarded the club and we have rewarded them with minutes.” The youth has consistently risen to the occasion, and Bedoya has shown that strong leadership has only accelerated their growth.
Miro’s made for CCL
If the Union have a sort of secret weapon heading into the Champions League it might be Jamiro Monteiro according to Jim Curtin. Last season, Jamiro Monteiro proved to be one of the best midfielders in the MLS playing the No. 8 spot. When he would shift into the No. 10 role he continued his effectiveness playing good through balls, scoring goals, and providing the final passes in scoring efforts. His versatility often provided a challenge for opposing defenses, routinely one of the Union’s best at breaking down the defense.
“He is the perfect player for the Champions League environment because he raises his level in the biggest games and he’s a little less known. All the players and coaches in our league know what he’s about but this competition the scouting report isn’t as dialed in on our team.” said Curtin. “He is the kind of player who could have a big competition for us. He is the one on our team that changes the defense the most.”
Jamiro is currently away from the team, though not to worry he will be game day fit. He is currently competing for the Cape Verde national team in their upcoming match against Mozambique in the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers. Monteiro will be ready to showcase his versatility when he rejoins the Union ahead of their match against Saprissa.
The Union will close out their preseason action tomorrow at 3 p.m. against D.C. United at Subaru Park. The game will be streamed live on PhiladelphiaUnion.com.