Ahead of Philadelphia Union’s upcoming match against D.C. United on Wednesday night, Head Coach Jim Curtin addressed the media about the tough battle ahead. Here are a few of the key takeaways from the presser.
Can’t sleep on D.C. United
Every opponent in the MLS poses a threat when playing on their own home turf. This D.C. United team however may pose more of a challenge than their record would have you believe. With United naming Chad Ashton the interim head coach replacing Ben Olsen, you can expect their players to be have a little extra fire trying to make an impression for their new coach. They have some great young talents paired with experienced veterans who can hurt you. Curtin emphasized the need for the group to come in with a good road mentality and professionalism. Ensuring the team focuses on doing the things they are good at when they have control of the ball, will be crucial in this match up. One thing is for sure you can expect a tight game for 90 minutes against this new looking D.C. United squad.
While the Boys in Blue were able to remain undefeated at Subaru Park over the weekend, the injury bug has reared its ugly head once again. Midfielder Warren Creavalle took an ankle injury after a tough tackle with Samuel Piette in the first half. He was able to finish out the half giving his best effort but was unable to return after halftime. Additionally, Ilsinho took a hard knock prior to being subbed out on Sunday. His toes were all black and blue, but he managed to make his way on to the practice field Tuesday and there is optimism that he will be able to contribute against D.C. Jakob Glesnes is still in concussion protocol and will be absent from the roster on Wednesday, but there is hope that he may be able to return to the squad for Monday’s match in New England. There is some good news on the injury front however, Ray Gaddis was training fully Tuesday, and now they will decide if he is ready to log a few minutes against D.C. or to wait to bring him back against New England.
Condensed schedule means depth to be testedbr /> The squad also welcomed back Jack De Vries and Cole Turner to first team training well after logging some time with the Philadelphia Union II in their final few games of the USL Championship season. Both have gotten full training sessions with the first team and will be on the bench this week. These are two good pieces to get back with all the injuries the team is dealing with and their ability to be thrown in at the end of a game and provide effective minutes. With the condensed nature of this season down the stretch taking its toll with injuries, this added depth is crucial down the stretch. It is no secret how difficult it can be to manage all these minutes adding up in a short time.
With the starting XI rotating a little more than usual and with the core group of 12-13 players logging the majority of the minutes rest, recovery has become of utmost importance. The schedule for this group has become play a game, recover, play a game. There is obviously a little training and tactical work, but the focus is mostly on recovery and taking care of their bodies to stay on the field. Cory Burke’s return provides a welcomed sigh of relief on this issue. He has passed all of his physical tests, including corona tests, and is training to get back on the pitch with the squad. The almost intoxicating effort and intensity he brings to every game is the perfect catalyst to finish the season. Burke also of course provides the team with some much-needed flexibility in rotations which should help to allow the attacking core some more rest.
You can look for the Union to take on D.C. United this Wednesday October 14th at 8:00pm EST when they continue to make a push for the top of the table.