On Wednesday 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 presser as the club prepares for their three-game road stretch in nine days.
Last Saturday, Philadelphia Union earned three big points at home in their rivalry matchup against D.C. United. In his press conference, Curtin expressed how valuable Borek Dockal, Alejandro Bedoya and Haris Medunjanin were in helping control the tempo of the game. Everyone on the pitch was a driving factor in the club's win, and it's something to build off on as the team prepares to travel north of the border where they'll face off against Toronto FC. Curtin hopes to continue the strong performance against DCU on the road and finishing chances created.
"I thought that we had all 11 guys attacking, all 11 guys defending which was a real positive. If you take the snapshot of the first games of the season, we've had a much more proactive approach that's dictated and proven by the fact that we're on the ball a lot, the possession data, the creation of chances. We recognize we have to do better converting those chances, but they are there. We're one of the better possession teams in the league towards the top of shots created and that's a positive."
Three road games in nine days
The Union have a jam-packed schedule beginning this Friday at BMO Field when they'll kick off their three-game road stretch in a short nine days. Following the match against TFC, the team will head to Columbus to take on the Crew and return to Canada where they'll face off against Montreal Impact. Curtin expressed in his presser that training has been competitive with the guys this week and that players who haven't seen the pitch that much this season should be ready when their name is called upon.
"We haven't been a good team on the road and we know that," Curtin said. "The couple really good performances we had at home we didn't take the maximum points. We'll have to go on the road and get those points back somehow and we're going to have to find ways to win games on the road. We know it's a tough task to go on the road three times in a row, but we'll look to take as many points as we possibly can."
Toronto hungry for points
Philadelphia will take on the reigning 2017 MLS Cup Champions for the first time this season. Playing in Toronto is never an easy task and according to Curtin, is one of the toughest places to play in the league. After TFC drew Chicago Fire last weekend and fell short in penalty kicks in CONCACAF Champions League Final, they'll be hungry for points and earning three points on their home turf. For the Union, Curtin wants his team to be brave, create chances and score goals to earn a win on the road against a top team.
"We're going to try and limit them (Toronto) as best as we can," Curtin said. "They're a team that has the ability and the firepower to create a lot of chances and score goals. It's going to take us being brave on the road. It's not an impossible task and we're preparing the best we can."