After running over Columbus Crew 3-0, Jim Curtin said he was proud of how his team handled all the uncertainty leading up to Saturday's match. The Union didn't know until Saturday morning that Jamiro Monteiro wouldn't be available and they only found out that Marco Fabián would be suspended for a second match late on Thursday.
Despite those big question marks, the Union earned their first shutout of the season and got two goals from an emotional David Accam.
Accam comes through
"We're all rooting for David; He's gone through a lot on the field, off the field, injuries, things he can control, things he can't control," Curtin told the media.
"So for him to have a performance like tonight when we really needed it as a team was big time. He really stepped up."
Accam only scored once in MLS play last year, but he was bright from the start against the Crew. Curtin pointed out that Accam's defensive work was excellent on an evening Philly really needed a team effort to get the win.
"Not just because he scores two goals but his work rate defensively," the head coach said. "On the counterattack giving us time to breathe... just a really top performance from David. And a credit to him because he's put a lot into the offseason coming back from injury. He just wants to help and reward the fans, and reward his teammates and he did that tonight; it was a special moment for David."
Defense does the job
After giving up three goals in their first home match, the Union shut out the Crew and only allowed five shots on night. A bouncer in the first half was the only shot on frame the defense let through, which let Carlos Miguel Coronel work through his first start without much trouble.
"We started, with the game plan, to really limit Higuain's opportunities and the way he floats around the field," Curtin said, singling out the Crew's creative hub, Federico Higuain.
"And also, it might sound unique, but Afful, the right back, is one of the most dangerous attackers that our league has. Making him defend is the best defense for us, but then tracking him and making it a hard night for him, I thought we did that for the most part."
The head coach concluded by returning to an issue the Union had against Toronto, noting that it wasn't a problem on Saturday night.
"The box defending from the back four, taking pride in keeping a clean sheet, Carlos had minimal action but when he was called upon did a great job catching a cross or two."
The Union return to action next Saturday when they travel to Cincinnati for their first every matchup with FC Cincinnati at 7:30 p.m. on March 30.