The 2023 edition of the Philadelphia Union took to the pitch for the first time on Monday morning and Head Coach Jim Curtin couldn't help but smile after taking in the 90 minute practice at the Union Training Complex in Chester, PA.
“Every guy to a man has come back incredibly fit and ahead of where their benchmarks were supposed to be," Curtin said to the gathered media on Monday. "When you look at training today just the sharpness of guys, I’m a little surprised because it looked like we never really stopped because it has the same feel and intensity from the end of last season. The guys are motivated and hungry to get back to MLS Cup and we know it will be very difficult to do.”
While temperatures for the area have been relatively mild this offseason, the cool winds blowing off the Delaware River gave their best wishes to the few newcomers on the pitch. Monday's training session was the first time that offseason acquisition Andres Perea had put on the Union badge and the midfielder is already showing the potential that made him a high target for the Union.
"He's a player that is a great ball winner still young and I still think in a new environment we maybe can push him and have him reach the highest level, Curtin said. "I think he has the quality of play in any league in the world, I believe that and you see him already today, ability to win balls, very composed and calm and can start attacks. He plays forward through the lines and and like you saw against us can score the occasional goal from deep which helps as well. A really strong player, great kid comes to work already and the first couple of days and and fits in really well with the locker room, he'll only get better and better as he gets used to the group."