Anthony Fontana Impressing Coaching Staff
Philadelphia Union Homegrown midfielder Anthony Fontana has made an outstanding impression on the coaching staff so far this preseason. With that being said, Fontana has been someone who continues to work hard and push himself each and every day. Head Coach Jim Curtin emphasized in his teleconference today that Fontana was focused during the offseason on what he can bring to the first team this year. According to Curtin, he's returned in good shape, is at the top when covering ground in training and showcases great quality in front of the goal.
“At a certain point, players become responsible for their own development and Anthony (Fontana) is an example of a guy who has taken that next step," Curtin said. "He's taken more ownership in the offseason, come in in good shape and has come in sharp on the ball. He’s shown a real ability to play both sides of the ball, with the ball is obviously his strength, but at the same time I think he’s really improved his awareness defensively."
Winger Winger Chicken Dinger
Being a winger is a demanding position for any player. This season there are several players pushing for starting positions, but luckily there's a core group who meet the demands. Curtin discussed today that with the position there's often injuries, national team call-ups and players who will need to step up to fulfill the role. For the stable group of guys in this position this season, Curtin said it's an area where the coaching staff is extremely confident in their young team.
“It’s a position on a lot of rosters in the league where you can’t just have two," Curtin said. "We happen to have a lot of depth in the winger spot whether it be (David) Accam, Fafa (Picault), (Fabian) Herbers, (Marcus) Epps, or (Eric) Ayuk. Again it’s an area of the field where we're confident in our young core of guys and now obviously adding David is a real upgrade in that position."
Red Bull Scrimmage as a Test
This Saturday, the Union will face off against New York Red Bulls in a scrimmage at Joe DiMaggio Sports Complex in Clearwater, Florida at 10 a.m. Curtin expressed today that he is not concerned about the score of the game, but more on how players progress with the techniques the coaching staff has implemented so far this preseason. That includes preparing the guys for fast thinking, reacting quickly and holding each other accountable.
"We've been working a lot on our defensive shape and getting everybody connected, we set it up now for our first opponent to be the Red Bulls," Curtin said. "The thinking of a lot of teams down here is when you play a college team or youth national team to ease your way into preseason. We decided to go the opposite and have a test with Red Bull who is as high of a pressing opponent as there is, get you to think fast and deal with difficult situations. We’ll see how some of our young guys hold up under that."