Yesterday, the Boys in Blue battled to a 0-0 draw in a preseason scrimmage against Chicago Fire. Head Coach Jim Curtin was pleased with the team's clean sheet and was proud of the way the back line performed.
“Overall it was a good way to end the second phase of preseason,” Curtin said. “We pushed guys 60 minutes, obviously they’re tired from all the work they’ve put in and we wanted to finish things the right way."
Among the things Curtin was happy about was getting a clean sheet and the way the defense played, but he knows there are still several things to work on before the 2018 campaign kicks off.
“Fafa (Picault) had two (chances) where he could’ve been one on one with the goalkeeper, David (Accam) had a couple as well and CJ (Sapong),” Curtin said. “We talked about those things and I’m happy about the performance, the final technical execution and the final ball was a little bit off today.”
Of the many takeaways from the scrimmage, Curtin is also starting to see players emerge and is ready to build on what he saw in the team's final leg of preseason next week.
"Marcus Epps has now consistently shown in the games that he’s really playing sharp and confident," Curtin said. "You have to make the most of every minute you get out here, and the games tell the truth."
Many opportunities were given to players to prove themselves yesterday, including defender Auston Trusty who earned the full 90 minutes of play during the match.
“It feels good that they believe in me and wanted me to play,” Trusty said.
So far, Trusty has enjoyed the preseason and loves the competitive nature, especially the bond he's formed with his teammates.
“I like this environment, this competitiveness and coming out every day grinding two times a day,” Trusty said.
Despite the team having to work on a few things, goalkeeper John McCarthy saw many things that the team can build off of. However, getting the clean sheet yesterday is always something to be proud of.
“A shutout is good, it shows a good defensive performance that we’re looking to build on," McCarthy said.
The goalkeeper believes players are starting to get more comfortable with each other and with more time to get used to each other, the team will be looking sharp.
"If we can build and get more chemistry together, I think we’re looking pretty good,” McCarthy said.
The Union will return home before heading back to Clearwater, Florida to compete in the second session of preseason — including three matches at the Suncoast Invitational. Information and tickets regarding the Union's schedule in the tournament can be found here.