Union eye strong finish to Leagues Cup


The Philadelphia Union will host the final installment of their Leagues Cup campaign against CF Monterrey at Subaru Park on Saturday evening, and there’s a sizable prize on the line for the home team. A third-place win would award Philadelphia a spot in the 2024 Concacaf Champions Cup, and on Friday, Head Coach Jim Curtin previewed the match sharing the importance of the upcoming matchup.

Bouncing back from Miami madness

The Union fell 4-1 to Inter Miami on Tuesday night in an uncharacteristic home loss, but despite the unfavorable outcome, Curtin is focused on shifting the team’s mindset toward their next match. 

“Just to reflect back on the Miami game, a game where we made a lot of mistakes, unforced errors, weren’t ourselves, in particular in the first half. We're all upset from the coaching staff to the players,” Curtin said. 

“But now it's about a response – getting back to doing the simple things perfect. Doing the things that make us a strong team in this building.”

The team has emerged in the top four of 47 teams that competed in Leagues Cup, but now, they’re looking to finish their best, vying for that third place spot. 

“There's still three Champions Cup berths on the line and we want to push and try and get that final Champions Cup berth tomorrow at six o'clock,” Curtin said.

New face on the field

On Friday, Curtin announced two notable changes in availability, first telling the media that Julian Carranza would be sidelined for a second consecutive game due to the Grade 1 hamstring injury he suffered late in their Semifinal match against Queretaro. 

“Julian doesn't make sense now to push. He was really on the bench [against Miami] in the case of a real emergency or a penalty kick situation. We missed him, obviously, in the Miami game and in a big way. He wanted to be a part of it,” Curtin said. 

“But now, the hamstring just isn't quite right. The hope is that he's available and ready to go vs DC next week as we return to league play.”

Though Carranza is out, the team will welcome a new face to the bench in newly signed forward Tai Baribo. The Israeli National Team player could make his Philadelphia Union debut on Saturday night in the team’s final Leagues Cup fixture. 

“Tai will be in the group and will be available off the bench, if needed. Again, didn't have a chance to train today, didn't have a chance to train much because he's getting his visa taken care of in Canada,” Curtin said. 

“But he's back with the team and is available to help us tomorrow. So that's a little boost off the bench, hopefully.”

Monterrey Matchup

Saturday’s match marks the first ever meeting between CF Monterrey and the Philadelphia Union, but there is significantly more on the line for Philadelphia. The Liga MX side is one of nine clubs that have already earned a spot in the Concacaf Champions Cup, and manager Fernando Ortiz announced that they will not field their typical starters. 

“I fully understand their coach's comments yesterday because the game doesn't have any real meaning for them. However, if they do go out and play a second group, I know how talented those players are at the bottom of the roster. They're looking to impress their coach, so there's never an easy game,” Curtin said.

“When we talked about it this week, I said I can't predict what lineup they're going to play. But they'll have good players on the field. And it really is about us getting back to doing the things that make us a good team. We know we had some uncharacteristic errors, we had a bad performance against Miami, and now it's about having a good response and finishing the competition the right way,” Curtin said.

Tune in with MLS Season Pass on Apple TV to watch the two team’s battle for third place in the first-ever Leagues Cup tournament.

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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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