Pressing Points

Pressing Points | We Go Again


Philadelphia Union will host Seattle Sounders on Saturday for a cross-conference matchup at Subaru Park in front of Union faithful. On Friday after training, Head Coach Jim Curtin met with the media, assessing the contest ahead.

We go again

The match will be Philadelphia Union’s sixth between Major League Soccer and Concacaf Champions Cup play, which began less than one month ago, but Curtin ensured that despite the strenuous start of their schedule, three points remains the priority heading into the match. 

He also reminded the media that even with multiple players out due to injury on the Sounders side, they’re still a competitive opponent with outstanding leadership, and they haven't counted them out. 

“Coach Brian Schmetzer has done an amazing job of just consistently being a championship team, year in year out. I think his staff does amazing work, his teams all play the right way. They're difficult to play against,” Curtin said. 

“We haven't played each other in quite some time, but we know that with their group, even with a couple of injuries early in the season, they're really, really difficult opponents. We were able to recover pretty quickly and get through the Pachuca game without any real injuries. Just some fatigue and tired legs, but guys will respond well, and there's no excuses with the tired legs now to have a quick turnaround and put in a good performance against a strong Seattle team.”

Ready for rotation

Though emerging with a win is the target, Curtin shared that his gameplan could be a crafty one, considering the strain on his group from playing matches so frequently. 

“The busyness of the schedule, in particular, this stretch, where we're going back to back weeks with Champions Cup games, with travel, and all the things that go along with that. It's the busiest part of the year. So this stretch now where we against Seattle and then to Mexico on a Tuesday is really, really difficult,” Curtin said. 

“There is a little light at the end of the tunnel, a little longer build to Austin, and then kind of a weekly cadence. We experimented with some things I thought in Kansas City where we gave guys rest in the first 45 and played them in the second. I think we had some success and got some good feedback and a good result doing it that way,” Curtin said. 

He gave a glimpse into he and his staff's thought process behind his rotation, comparing game minutes to training minutes, detailing how he’s used that physical science to shape his changes and rotation.

“With the five substitutes now, you can kind of tweak things a little differently. For those that don't know, a 45 minute game is about the equivalent distance-wise intensity-wise sprinting-wise as a good hard training session for these guys,” Curtin said. 

“So where you get yourself into trouble is if that creeps up to 60 minutes, there's a threshold where you're starting to risk things. 75 minutes, even more. Then in that last, 15 minutes plus extra time can be the difference between injury, losing a guy's legs completely for the next game, so we have to navigate that.”

Despite the physical toll it takes, Curtin shared that his group is hungry for both points and personal minutes and it’s a quality that propels the group, regardless of schedule woes. 

“Every guy wants to play every minute – that's how I want my players to feel. But sometimes, we have to take that away from them, do what we think is best, not just for this week, but for the whole season, and have them peaking at the end which is the most important time,” Curtin said. 

“But don't mistake that for us not wanting all three points coming up for us, wanting to advance against Pachuca. But we have to do it in a creative and smart way that gives us the best chance to go as far as we can in the Champions League and get points now early in the season against a really tough opponent in Seattle.”

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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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