As Philadelphia Union begins its second stint of preseason in Clearwater, Florida, the guys have been working hard at training to impress the coaching staff and earn their spot in the starting lineup come March 3 for the club's home opener against New England.
Head Coach Jim Curtin has emphasized how important the scrimmages and games are for the team and how it allows the coaching staff the opportunity to evaluate the way each player executes on the pitch.
According to Curtin, there are still several spots up for grabs and the roster is not yet finalized.
"We have a lot of games coming up that we can get different looks on at some different things," Curtin said. "We have a lot of good wingers that are competing for the right winger spot."
Among those competing for the right winger spot are Marcus Epps, Fafa Picault and Fabian Herbers. Each player has come back to preseason in shape and showcased tough competition this preseason.
Most importantly, Curtin has made it a priority to focus on the team's attack and creating chances in the 2018 campaign. After the Union's 5-1 win over the University of South Florida last week in a preseason scrimmage, Curtin was impressed with what he saw — but that doesn't mean there still aren't things that need improvement.
"There's still a lot to work on, but we were able to hit a lot of our consistent plays for the group in terms of how we attack, creating chances and scoring some goals," Curtin said.
The roster heading into the third phase of preseason will primarily consist of rostered players and will examine who will represent the team on opening day against New England Revolution, according to Curtin.
Philadelphia will have a busy second leg of preseason in Clearwater, as the team will compete in three Suncoast Invitational matches. The Union will first take on D.C. United on Saturday, Feb. 17 at 5 p.m.
Fans in the area will be able to purchase tickets for the game here, while streaming information will be released later on this week.