Ahead of Sunday’s match against the Montreal Impact, Philadelphia Union Head Coach Jim Curtin addressed the media about the upcoming busy stretch. Here are a few of the key takeaways from the presser.
Welcome back at Subaru Park
The long wait will finally come to an end as there will be fans inside Subaru Park for the first time in 2020. Though it will only be a limited capacity to ensure the Union are doing their part to provide a safe environment for the fans, the fans impact is welcome. The Union have done a perfect job of maintaining that home field advantage without fans with an undefeated record thus far. Curtin credited the results with players utilizing the sense of familiarity that comes with playing at Subaru Park. When seeing the goal differential at home you really see the impact being able to walk out of you own tunnel and go about your normal game day habits has had on the players. When asked about fans returning Kai Wagner expressed his excitement mentioning that it is simply more fun to play in front of fans. Kai also mentioned that fans often provide the boost the team needs to push past an opponent and how that could have swung a game like the early in the against FC Cincinnati.
Cory Burke is officially back in Philadelphia and the Union could not be happier to have him back. As he is still under quarantine having just returned, he has not rejoined the team but has begun individual workouts to get into game shape. The Jamiaican forward will have to work his way into the starting line up as this team has embodied the mentality that everything is earned not given. Burke has always been the kind of guy who always stays in shape it won’t be long until he is back in game shape and threatening opposing defenses. Curtin struggled to contain his excitement at the prospect of a line featuring Burke alongside Sergio Santos, and Kacper Przybyłko challenging opposing back lines at the end of a game. When it comes to an ideal Union striker, Curtin said the Burke checks a lot of positive boxes both on offense with the ball and providing a speed threat, and defensively without the ball providing a physical presence and always pressing. A late summer addition can only be seen as a major asset down the stretch of this season.
Axel Schuster Comments
Axel Schuster, of the Whitecaps, recently called the Union one of his role models for the league. He is of course referring to the success of the academy system and the real pipeline of talent here in the Philadelphia are that the Union have created. The Union system is built off of a three-pillar ideology. First, the team really relies on and builds off of the academy system and developing talent from within. Second, the mentality in the Philadelphia locker room is that a cohesive group of 11 guys that plays and fights for each other can beat any superstar in the league. And lastly, the innovations with how the team evaluates players and how they will work with the squad. Being strategic in the way they scout talent and really leaning on analytics and data with film and tracking devices to monitor how players move on the pitch.
The Union take on the Montreal Impact this Sunday at 7:30 pm EST as they look to make a move for the top of the table and maintain their unbeaten streak at Subaru Park.