Ready for Red Bull
The Union get an extra day of rest and training ahead of the team's match against New York Red Bulls, with the game being playing on national television Sunday afternoon. The Union also catch a break in that NYRB faces off against Sporting Kansas City in the US Open Cup final next Wednesday evening. Head Coach Jim Curtin said with the Open Cup final looming after the match, the team could see a different lineup from Red Bull. But regardless who is in the starting lineup for NYRB, the Union know they will face a Red Bull team hungry for three points.
"Coming up is a very tough game against Red Bull, who has the Open Cup sandwiched in on Wednesday," Curtin said. "Depending on how they approach the game, we know what they're about. A team that will high-press, that will have a ton of fight and a ton of energy. It's a rivalry game in their building, which will be difficult. They're in a very good run of form now, and we need to give maximum effort to get three points."
Earn Your Place
As the season winds down to a close, Curtin still wants to foster competition between players, and that happens in training. Curtin believes that playing time is earned through training, and that a starting spot shouldn't be handed out based on age, or any other arbitrary reasons. By having those battles in training, it makes the team better, and gets them ready for the upcoming matches, in which Curtin wants to get as many points as he can.
"It's not going to be a situation where we just throw the young guys out there, because they'll fail if you just do that," Curtin said. "It's not setting them up in a good spot. If the moment is right, if they work hard in practice and show that they belong, I do feel there could be an opportunity. We pick the team each week based on how they perform in training. Things won't just be handed to people. It's still earned every day at training."
Despite walking away from Minnesota United FC without a red card, Oguchi Onyewu will still be forced to miss the Union's match against New York Red Bulls due to yellow card accumulation. His spot next to Jack Elliott is open, and there is a question mark as to who could line up there. Josh Yaro is the prime candidate, having already made four starts this season next to Elliott. However, he picked up a slight knee injury, causing the Union to train with Richie Marquez next to Elliott in practice Wednesday. Curtin said both players should be available for selection come Sunday.
"Gooch is suspended, and Yaro picked up a little knee injury yesterday," Curtin said. "He did some stuff on the side today. Richie had a very good day of training, that's how we trained today, with Elliott and Richie on his left. It's something we're confident in. His number could be called on for sure. We're still talking through what's the best way to approach Red Bull. Josh will be back in training soon, so we'll see how it goes."