After nabbing all nine points in eight days, the Boys in Blue have had a whole week to recover and prepare for their final road trip of July as they head south to sunny and humid Florida for an Eastern Conference battle against Orlando City SC. Before hitting the road Philadelphia Union Head Coach Jim Curtin spoke with the media about the upcoming game. These are our Founders Brewing Co. Pressing Points.
Bedoya out, Elliott's back
Curtin announced at his presser on Thursday afternoon that center back Jack Elliott is fully training and will be ready for the game in Orlando after missing the past two matches with a knee injury. “He is back which is great,” Curtin said with a smile on his face. “Jack and Jakob for me, are All Star, Best XI players. And they are leading the best defense in the league so to get him back is huge.”
While the Union will have their full stable of defenders, the club will be without its captain Alejandro Bedoya who suspended due to yellow card accumulation.
“Unfortunately, we will miss our captain in the next game which is difficult but it’s a chance for other guys to step up.” Curtin said about the suspension. Without giving away too much about his lineup for Saturday night, Curtin did list a few different options that the technical staff is considering.
“We have different guys that can do it. You can put McGlynn on that side and invert him to his left foot to get him on the ball, Quinn Sullivan obviously has played that side on the diamond for us as well. I think Daniel could do it at a pinch and you can put Paxten at the 10.”
Jack of all trades
Homegrown Jack McGlynn got the start at Subaru Park last weekend against the New England Revolution and is one of the players who could replace Bedoya on Saturday night. Curtin spoke about the midfielder’s unique abilities that have him primed to play a larger role after a success stint with the U.S. U-20s.
“His strength is obviously on the ball,” Curtin said. “He can play through the lines, his composure in tight spaces is really good. That left foot, he kind of sees things in the future and can play balls that open up defenses.”
Against New England, the midfielder was paired up alongside Jose Martinez which many would have thought would be to aid him on the defensive side of the ball. However Curtin believes that he can play on either side of the Union’s 4-4-2 diamond formation.
“He certainly is better when he has a ball winner and a runner next to him, in Jose but I know that he can play the side of the diamond as well. He has a unique skillset and it is up to the coaches to find unique ways to use them.”
Watching the weather
One area of concern with a trip for Florida is bound to be the weather. That was the case on Thursday as Curtin was asked about how the team was preparing for the high temperatures and if it forced the team to changes in training.
“We are still working at a high intensity but periods that we are working are much shorter,” Curtin said. “The very hot weather also prepared the team for the hot, humid weather in Florida. “I would say we are acclimated too, trained really hard in the heat the past several weeks.”