On Thursday afternoon Philadelphia Union Head Coach Jim Curtin spoke to the media in his weekly press conference at Talen Energy Stadium. Here are three takeaways from his press conference:
The schedule is the schedule
Philadelphia Union have a rare bye-week this Saturday which comes in just the second week of the MLS season. The club was originally supposed to head west to take on Seattle Sounders, but circumstances changed that original plan. Curtin dove into the specifics and shared his thoughts on the rare second-week bye.
“It’s a challenge because you want to get in a rhythm. You want to get momentum and obviously, we came off a pretty good performance and you want to play again. At the same you have to understand the importance of an MLS team winning the Champions League,” Curtin said. “We’re in a bye-week in week two because we were scheduled to play Seattle. That game got pushed to later in the year and it will be difficult for us to go there mid-week and play them, but the schedule is the schedule and you have to adjust accordingly.”
Cory Burke shines for the Union
On Saturday night in the club’s 2-0 win over New England Revolution, the Union saw a massive contribution off the bench from their Jamaican international Cory Burke. The offseason signing from Bethlehem Steel brought pace and aggressiveness to the pitch for Philadelphia and his impact was felt immediately as Burke created multiple chances by attacking the Revolution defense and ultimately earned an assist in the match.
Coach Curtin praised Burke for what he was able to bring to the match.
“Cory on the right hand side did a really good job. We knew that there would be some tired legs from the left back from having to defend a ton. The first opportunity Cory took was to go 1v1 against them and he made a really good play to beat them in the corner and obviously sent a good cross to CJ (Sapong) to get him a tap-in,” Curtin said. “All around good play, all around you can tell what Cory brings. He’ll run he’ll fight, it can be unorthodox and it can be difficult for defenders to figure out what he’s going to do.”
The number 10 position is one that will need to be shared early
The arrival of Czech international Borek Dockal has created a buzz around the club from media members and fans. Dockal did not make an appearance in the club’s home opener against New England as he continues to gain fitness with Philadelphia.
In the match on Saturday Homegrown product Anthony Fontana made his MLS debut and started in the number 10 spot for the Union. Coach Curtin was very clear in his press conference that he has faith in Fontana as Dockal gains fitness to become match ready. As the next match draws nearer, the number 10 position will be on that is shared early on.
“We’ll have to find the right balance. Borek (Dockal) has been brought in to start there is no question about that. At the same time, he’s gaining fitness every day. Anthony (Fontana) showed that he can do a job. I don’t think Borek is going to be ready for many minutes right off the bat, so if he starts at some point someone is going to have to come in for him. If he doesn’t start and comes off the bench, then someone will have to start. This is a role that needs to be shared early on.” Curtin said.