The second leg of Philadelphia Union’s 2017 preseason began when the club arrived in Clearwater, Florida on Jan. 31. The Union went through two-a-days before wrapping up the second leg of their preseason on Thursday evening with a scrimmage against Chicago Fire in Bradenton, Florida.
During the first leg of preseason the club trained in their backyard in Chester, where Philadelphia Union Head Coach Jim Curtin and his staff focused their time on evaluation. During their second leg in Clearwater, the club trained twice a day and Curtin emphasized the defensive side of the ball during their sessions.
“In the first phase we wanted to do a lot of evaluation and play in big spaces. In the second phase we wanted to work on our defensive shape,” Curtin said. “A lot of principles and what our cues are to press teams, I thought we got through that very well.”
As the second leg came to a close the club fell to Chicago 1-0 in a climate factoring scrimmage, with winds reaching speeds upwards to 40 miles per-hour. Although the Union surrendered a goal in the second half, Curtin viewed that as a teachable moment for his group moving forward against stiff competition, which he spoke about after the match.
“We didn’t give up a lot of chances today, but the one we did ends up as a goal. Again, there’s always things to work on and improve on. As we move on to phase three ,we have a lot of competition,” Curtin said. “We have four games against Orlando, Tampa, Montreal and D.C. Good competition is coming, and I think our team is in a good spot fitness wise with a lot of depth.”
That list of competition Curtin alluded to is what the Union will see in the third and final leg of their 2017 preseason. Philadelphia will return to Florida next Tuesday where they will partake in the Suncoast Invitational.
After the Union square off in the Suncoast Invitational, all eyes will be on their quest for the cup as they travel to Vancouver to take on the Whitecaps to kick-off the 2017 season.