After another three points on the road, the Philadelphia Union are back at Subaru Park on Saturday night as they face off against Eastern Conference foe, the New England Revolution. Looking to maintain and extend their lead in the East, Head Coach Jim Curtin spoke about the rivalry with the Revs and some key pieces for the matchup. These are our Founders Brewing Co. Pressing Points.
Rev'd Up Rivalry
For the second and final time in the regular season the Boys in Blue will battle the Boston side with Curtin calling Bruce Arena’s bunch a “difficult opponent” given how well the two sides know one another. Those battles have even made the matchups feel like a rivalry contest with the games going to a new level in 2020 when the two sides battled five times.
The Union lifted the Supporters’ Shield against the Revs in the season finale only to see their postseason ended by New England a few weeks later.
“In recent years the games are very, very close, the margins are very tight, it’s always a tough opponent,” Curtin said on Friday afternoon. “The pandemic year was the craziest one where we played probably like ten times.”
Having played so many times in the past will mean that both sides know what matchups will be key to the contes with the Union playing close attention to the Revs’ Spanish playmaker.
“It’s a team in good form, Carles Gil is one of the most dangerous players our league has, on the ball, he is in good form. They are obviously very good coached by the best coach I think our league has had.”
It won’t be an easy game on Saturday but the Union can play with confidence after two straight wins and the Union faithful pushing them on.
One thing you might have noticed in the Union’s win over D.C. United as a slight tatical change done by Curtin and his staff. The slight tweak came in the form of form of captain Alejandro Bedoya who was used in a different way and it has led to improved results
“If you see Alejandro Bedoya, he drops deeper in possession and almost plays as the right back and Nathan Harriel takes off up the field,” Crutin said. “We dropped him low even against Miami a few times. It just pits back by having the outside back higher and getting Ale on the ball past the winger just creates a natural advantage.”
With the brace against D.C., Bedoya is having his best season yet with the Union with give goals scored and two assists.
“Let’s put your smartest, best guy on the ball. With what Ale does he protects Nathan and he protects Mbaizo when he is with them because he is so smart with his timing, his movement. He can outthink guys too. When the league is so young and so chaotic and everybody wants to run and fight it’s like, who are the guys that kind of move with the ball, step on it, slow it down”.
Stu's Send Off
Following the match in Miami, Curtin confirmed that defender Stuart Findlay would be leaving the club after the New England Revolution match. With Curtin saying that Jack Elliot is out for Saturday Findlay’s finale at Subaru Park has become even more important than just a typical send off.
“He is in an age and at a stage in his career where he needs first team minutes all the time,” says Jim Curtin about why Stuart Findlay is going to leave the team.
He also pointed out the quality of the center back: “He is a starting caliber center back in our league. Some decisions have gone against him, he has had some hard luck, he has had an injury or two at a tough time. But every game he stepped in for us he has done a great job. He has two really good center backs, I think we have the best four centre backs, including Brandan Craig, in the league so sometimes it’s just a product of your in a good team that’s winning and there is not much change especially two a back line that is playing well.”