Width is key
The Union rebounded from it's road loss to Columbus Crew SC last Saturday with a 3-0 shutout at home tonight. Being back on their home turf provided ample opportunity for the Union to work on mistakes from last weeks matchup that certainly payed off in the team's win tonight. In his press conference, Head Coach Jim Curtin said the team worked on getting the ball wide instead of making narrow passes. From the opening whistle, Curtin said he was pleased with players like Ilsinho and Marcus Epps for executing what the team worked on in practice and making dangerous plays. Despite Columbus being down two men for a majority of the match, Curtin said the team continued to play hard, checked off several boxes and deserved their hard earned win.
"Overall, a good team performance," Curtin said. "I thought the guys put a lot into the game. There was urgency from the opening whistle. I thought that Ilsinho and Marcus did a really good job giving us width tonight it was something we worked on. In Columbus we were a little narrow and made it kinda easy on their back three center backs to stay 20 years from each other and not really have to go out to wide areas. I thought they executed that part very well. The message for them at halftime was to continue to go 1 vs. 1 when we got them out in those isolated areas. Marcus responded, I thought, very well to that in the second half, Ilsinho as well. They were dangerous all night, it was a good team performance. I think we checked a lot of boxes. I think it was a good response to the road trip that left a bad taste in our mouth."
Persistence pays off
In the match, midfielder Marcus Epps set himself up with several opportunities to score, notching eight shots. He switched from his usual left to the right side of the pitch tonight, and in the end, was able to find the back of the net for his first MLS goal. In his press conference, Curtin said it was because of several factors like Epps cutting in on his right foot and curling in that lead to the switch. Curtin added that his goal was harder than the chances he originally created for himself in the match, but his persistence was rewarded in the end and helped lead the Union to the team's 3-0 victory.
"You can see he likes to cut in onto that right foot and hit the curl shot," Curtin said. "He bends it into the far post, and he has a good calmness about him. He's very deceptive in that there's not 10 step overs to do it, it's the way he moves his hips and angles his body. He uses the defender almost as a screen for the goalkeeper and that little pass to the back post. We talked about it with Marcus and utilizing that, shooting to the back post. He hit about three or four that got blocked or got deflected. But, his persistence paid off and he made a really good run."