With players out due to injuries and away on international duty, Philadelphia Union have to get creative for Friday night's game against the New England Revolution. Head Coach Jim Curtin spoke to the media about his plan of attack for tomorrow’s match at Subaru Park. Here are our Founders Brewing Co. Pressing Points.
Working With Who Is Here
With more than half of the Union’s regular starters away in FIFA World Cup Qualifiers and center back Jack Elliott suspended due to yellow card accumulation, Friday’s game will see Curtin call upon players who haven’t seen a lot of field time to step up. Despite the fact that New England too will be without key pieces, they have consistently been the top team in the league. Their run to a 14-point Conference lead is courtesy of a lethal offense that has racked up the most goals scored in 2021 alongside one of the strongest back lines.
“It’s not about who is not here, it’s about who is here,” Curtin said. “This will be an opportunity for some players that haven’t logged a ton of minutes this year to maybe give us a spark.”
Brazilian super sub Ilsinho will miss the match but Curtin is cautiously optimistic about having him back for the second leg of Concacaf Champions League Semifinal against Club America game. Familiar faces like Sergio Santos and Anthony Fontana will be available for selection for tomorrow’s game thought Curtin noted that it is still being determined whether as starters or as key substitutes.
“Everybody’s going to be called upon to be ready and do the work.”
With two right backs missing and New England notorious for creating opportunities in wide areas, Curtin discussed the possibility of moving away from the Union’s familiar 4‐4‐2 diamond that they’d relied on this season.
Curtin said that he expects center back Jakob Glesnes to command the backline in tomorrow’s match even though he is lacking his counterpart, Jack Elliott. Said Curtin: “His leadership will be really valuable.”
New England’s strength on all areas of the field requires Curtin to assess and adapt to changes that may need be made in regard to roles on the field. His plan is to not overcomplicate things by moving too many people out of their natural positions.
“We have no excuses just like they have no excuses and we’ll have to put together a good 90 minutes.”
Being in front of the Union faithful at Subaru Park for tomorrow night’s contest will be a big factor in the match according to Curtin.
The last time the Union faced New England, they didn’t have this benefit. Despite the losing outcome, younger players were able to compete at the high‐level New England brings and rise to the occasion.
“It’s always naturally easier to play at home and to have the fans behind you. We need the Sons of Ben to be loud and the entire stadium to go crazy in support of these young players on the field.”
Curtin explained: “We have nothing to lose tomorrow and the importance for the boys to come out and play free despite the fact the odds seem to be stacked against them. He challenges the players to fight for each other and a positive outcome while feeding off of the energy of the fans.”