The next man up mindset is one that is preached across the entire sports landscape. The ability to count on everyone on your roster is crucial for a head coach. For Jim Curtin and the Philadelphia Union, that mentality will be heavily emphasized in their locker room this Friday against Orlando SC.
Warren Creavalle will be unavailable Friday after receiving a straight red card this past Saturday against the Chicago Fire. Creavalle’s absence will give Vincent Nogueira and others an opportunity to take advantage of playing time. Curtin expressed the depth of his club and the options he has on his roster.
“Vincent’s a guy who’s in good form now in training and has looked sharp so we’ll have to weigh our options,” Curtin said Wednesday. “Tranquillo also coming back, you start to have a good stable of guys to choose from.”
The return of Tranquillo Barnetta gives Curtin another combination in his starting XI. Barnetta made his 2016 debut this past Friday coming in as a sub in the 66th minute. He had been sidelined so far this season due to a knee injury. In his 2015 campaign with the Union, Barnetta started in nine games recording three assists.
Curtin spoke on Barnetta coming into a less than ideal situation in Chicago and how he’s progressed through injury.
“Obviously, a difficult situation to come into when we’re down a man and in need of a goal so not quite the formation and the area of the field that we’d like to get him on,” Curtin said. “But I thought he came in and contributed a lot into our attack. He’s a guy who always likes to play forward, he’s aggressive. After he plays a pass he’s moving to get it back. So, happy with him. I still think he has some room to improve on the fitness but he’s been working really hard on that after training each and every day and is a big part of this thing moving forward. We’re anxious to get him back in fully with the group.”
Who the Union decide to go with in their midfield this weekend at Talen Energy Stadium remains to be seen. What is clear however, is – unlike in recent memory – Philadelphia has depth on the roster that gives the technical staff more options to tinker with.
When Creavalle returns from suspension in a week’s time, there will certainly be competition to stay on the pitch as the season moves forward.
Who do you think the Union will turn to in the midfield in Creavalle's absence? Leave your comment below.