As the days count down to the start of sports returning to Philadelphia with the Union’s contest Thursday in the MLS is Back, Head Coach Jim Curtin was quick to comment on the status of the competition for the starting XI spot at left back.

In the club’s first two matches to kick off the 2020 campaign it was homegrown Matt Real while 2019 start Kai Wagner dealt with an injury. During the nearly four month suspension in play, Wagner used the time to get fit and now is in line to return against New York City FC.

“Matt works hard every day in training and he did a good job subbing in for Kai when Kai was out with his injury but Kai is fully healthy now and fully fit,” Curtin said. “It’s not a knock on Matthew but it is my belief that we have the best left back in the league in front of him. Sometimes in pro sports that happens and those are the same discussions I’ve had with Matthew. He continues to get better each day but at the moment, Kai is the guy that has that position locked up.”

The Union will open the MLS is Back Tournament on Thursday, July 9th at 9 a.m. ET on ESPN and ESPN Deportes.