The Philadelphia Union sat down with AFC Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe, and captain Tommy Elphick to do a joint presser ahead of their friendly tonight (7pm at PPL Park, Watch the live stream on Bournemouth's Cherries Player if you wish to pay a subscription fee), but the conversation's headlines weren't about the match.
Union manager Jim Curtin answered a few questions regarding the transfers rumors swirling around the team. First of which involved a player we here at the Brotherly Game reported last week. Although Rodolfo Zelaya wasn't in camp when we thought he was, the interest in the player nicknamed Fito was clearly there as he is now trialing with the Union.
There wasn't much info given out from Curtin about Fito, but it was only the first day of his week-long trial and Philadelphia will certainly give a look at the Salvadoran. Fito's fit into the Union side seems (from the outside looking in) to be a bit different given the lineups Curtin has preferred this season. The squiggly and slippery striker typically finds himself playing secondary striker and most definitely in the center of the pitch. For the Union, who do not typically utilize two strikers, this would signal either a formation switch or it would signal Zelaya being moved into a position either out wide or alongside Cristian Maidana. We will have to wait and see.
Barnetta and Dittborn
Two players talked about by the Union at this week's press conference were Swiss international Tranquillo Barnetta and Chilean Santiago Dittborn. First with Barnetta, Jim Curtin opted to showcase his having learned the press conference ropes by giving an extremely vague answer on the player rumored to have been in Philadelphia last week.
The 30-year-old winger was reported to have met with the team, or at least been in Philadelphia last week, has 75 caps and three World Cup appearances (Yes, he played in that little tournament in Brazil) with Switzerland. Curtin's comments went about as far as saying basically, "Yeah, that'd be nice," before turning to the next question. Barnetta would be arriving on a free transfer should any decision be made on him during this transfer window.
As for 22-year-old Santiago Dittborn, who has a terrific name which I will love saying for the rest of my years, was trialing for the Union last week and has since left the team. No decision has been made on Dittborn, as they are exploring other options in order to bring him in. Despite impressing the Union last week, I'm not going to hold my breath for a signing.
Friendly with AFC Bournemouth
The news here wasn't unlike any other press conference with a friendly opponent in the fact similar questions are asked and answered and all that jazz. Pretty straightforward stuff from manager Eddie Howe and captain Tommy Elphrick.
The press conference always leans towards us in the media wanting to ask the big question: "So, whatcha think of MLS, huh? Getting pretty good, am I right?" Which is almost always responded with, "Yeah, the league is growing and its one of the emerging leagues in the world." Or, "Well, I don't watch too much MLS, its only just reaching (insert country), but we think the league will continue to grow. It's a very exciting time in America for football."
Both of these answers happened and its always nice to hear from European managers that the Union treat the teams that come here with respect and make them feel welcome to Philadelphia. Those relationships go a long way and with Bournemouth and Philadelphia becoming friends, who knows maybe that will benefit us in some capacity in the long run.