Pressing Points

Pressing Points | Starting off CCC Strong 

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Ahead of Philadelphia Union’s Concacaf Champions Cup matchup, Head Coach Jim Curtin fielded questions from  both Costa Rican and American outlets on what to expect from the series.

The approach

Goals are pivotal in every match but away goals carry even more importance in Concacaf Champions Cup with the first tiebreaker being just that statistic. During his press conference, Curtin emphasized the importance of getting a result in the first match and how that impacts his group's gameplan come Tuesday.

I always say the tie can be lost in the first leg, it can't be won. So we have to be very intelligent with how we approach the game. Very disciplined, because the opponent can really hurt you and I've been in this stadium before when it goes crazy early,” Curtin said. 

Curtin continued on to share an example from his time playing against Saprissa as a center back for Chicago Fire.

“We had an early red card and it becomes very, very difficult to play once the crowd gets going. There's no stopping that momentum so we'll be smart in how we approach the game. Respectful but also brave.” 

For Philadelphia, Curtin says that smart approach begins in the opening 15 minutes of game action, which will mark the first they’ve seen since November.

The Union way to win 

When asked about his team’s strength, Curtin described the club’s identity on and off the pitch, starting with their comfort in not having the ball.

“We're okay if Saprissa has a lot of possession, and we actually expect that. We're very good in the transition, so how quickly can we go from defense to attack and attack to defense both are very, very important phases of the game.”

The other piece of the club’s identity he cited was his players’ diverse experiences, and how that creates a robust roster ready to rise to the occasion. 

“The beautiful thing about this sport is there's a million different ways to do it. And I'm not here to tell you which one is the correct way. But we do it our way. It's unique. It's unique to our city. It's unique to our club, and we're proud of it.”

“We  have a great group of young players and young talent. We also have a great group of veterans that have been through these types of games at a high level and CONCACAF both with their national team and with their club team. So that experience is something you have to lean on heavily in these types of games and in these atmospheres.”