Pressing Points

Pressing Points | Major Test hosting Pachuca


Another Tuesday matchday for Philadelphia Union is on the horizon; they’ll take on Liga MX’s Pachuca in Concacaf Champions Cup Round of 16. After the team’s matchday -1 training at the stadium on Monday, Head Coach Jim Curtin and forward Mikael Uhre met with the media, previewing what’s to come.

Growing rivalry with Liga MIX

In recent seasons, Philadelphia Union have put themselves in the position to play against Liga MX teams on more than a few occasions. With another installation coming on Tuesday, Curtin reflected on the challenges, the benefits, and the growing rivalries that come from those competitions. 

“It's a good healthy rivalry to be playing in the Champions League. And to do it as consistently as we are something that we're very, very proud of. Having said that, we also recognize how difficult these tests are,” Curtin said. 

“We'll look to try to learn about our group, I think you learn about your group in the hardest games and in the biggest games, and there's nothing bigger than playing Pachuca in our stadium, at Subaru park in the Champions Cup.”

The Matchup

Both Philadelphia Union and Liga MX will play Tuesday's match having had a two-day turnaround from their last contest. With aggregate goals the deciding factor, the team’s focus at Subaru Park will be limiting Pachuca chances and defending their home turf. 

“This will be halftime. We still know we have to go to Pachuca Stadium and that's a very difficult task, so we want to set ourselves up as best as possible. I’m stressing to the guys how important it is not to concede and be strong defensively, and obviously try to score a goal ourselves. So that's the objective. We know it'll be difficult and everybody will have to be playing at 100% at their max,” Curtin said. 

Curtin cited Oussama Idrissa, Salomón Rondón, Érick Sanchez as part of the team’s top talents, which has contributed to their successful start to their 2024 Liga MX Clausura campaign.

“They're statistically one of the best attacking teams that Liga MX has the season. A lot of data shows that. Whether it be their chance creation, their shots on goal, the goal scored, and they have a way of really playing end to end exciting games. A lot of high scoring games, so we'll have to do our best to try to stop that, but it certainly starts with their leadership and their coach who is an exceptional Manager.”

Situation at Center Back

In the Union’s home match against Deportivo Saprissa, Jack Elliott picked up a red card in the 92nd minute and just over 10 minutes later, in the 104th minute Damion Lowe was shown his second yellow card of the series, leaving them both ineligible to play in Tuesday’s match against Pachuca. Curtin addressed the impact of their absences, and how he’s altered their gameplan to make up for it.

“When you look at Pachuca on film, so much of their attacks come down their left hand side or our right hand side, so we'll have to have a plan in place. With our group, we obviously know we're short handed at the centerback position with two suspensions, so we'll have a plan in place to protect the middle first because that's where goals come from, but also have a real tendency to try to take away their strength,” Curtin said.

“It's going to be a difficult test for us but certainly being sound defensively on our right side of the field, their left is a real key to tomorrow's matchup.”

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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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