Finally finishing, but not finishing them off
“The only disappointing part of the night is that we didn’t get a third goal to kind of kill the game off,” Curtin said to open his press conference. After spurning numerous chances early, the Union got two from Haris Medunjanin and Cory Burke to provide a bit of security. Once Bradley Wright-Phillips pulled one back, though, Philly could not get the extra goal that would have been a knockout blow to Jesse Marsch’s men.
“The one thing we are lacking is that killer instinct in front of goal,” Curtin continued. “We created a ton of chances, and tonight should have been a night where we have a fun time and can celebrate a little earlier than we did. We made it interesting and let a good Red Bull team get back into the game on a silly play.”
Big men in the middle
“I have to say,” Curtin said, “Ale Bedoya’s game and Haris Medunjanin’s game were at a very high level.” Along with Borek Dockal, the Union’s men in the center of the park continually created their own space by beating the first line of pressure with a series of body feints and ball drags. New York’s galloping defenders were left grasping at air, and Philly took advantage of the extra time by spraying the ball out to their wings.
“Ale’s ability to dribble out of a tight spot throws Red Bulls press off, the way they fly at you. Just his composure to beat them on the dribble had them scrambling a bit, and we were able to play out of some tight spots.
Center backs need to be better, but belief in them continues
“Not great,” was Curtin’s short response to questions about Mark McKenzie and Auston Trusty’s play. It wasn’t their best night in terms of sliding, covering for each other. I didn’t think they were on the same page tonight,” Curtin expanded. “But at the same time, they’re young. I think they made some really good plays, I think they made some composed plays.
“But as a center back, you can play good for 89 and a half minutes, and if you get split like they did… they’re pros so we’re going to hold them to a high standard.
“I give them a lot of credit for their growth and sticking with it.
“Maybe I’m critical and too hard on them because I see so much talent in them,” the coach reflected. “I know where they can go, where they can be. THat’s what Earnie [Stewart] and I want for them. We want them to be playing in Europe. And tonight wasn’t a European-type performance, for either of them. And that’s just the blunt, honest truth, and I know they’ll bounce back against Vancouver.
“Because I believe in them. I believe in the two 19-year olds,” he concluded.