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Philadelphia Union press conference recap

Union head coach Jim Curtin spoke with the media about Ken Tribbett's return to the lineup, CJ Sapong's long scoring slump, and new signing Kevin Kratz.

Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

This weekend, the Philadelphia Union will limp across the border looking for their first win in four games. Awaiting them is a tough Toronto FC team, which beat the Union in Chester a little more than a month ago. On Wednesday, Head Coach Jim Curtin took questions from the media ahead of one of the final matches of the regular season.

Tribbett vs. Toronto: Part Two

With Josh Yaro suspended for Saturday's game, Ken Tribbett will step back into the starting eleven. You may remember that last month, Tribbett was torn to shreds by a rampant Toronto FC attack. The big center back was yanked at halftime of that game, but Curtin has faith that that performance is now behind him.

"Good opportunity for redemption," Curtin said. "Ken's a guy we've leaned on heavily this year and he's had a lot of great games for us. No secret that the Toronto game was a difficult one for him. ... I think Ken learned from that game."

On Keegan's game to forget

Keegan Rosenberry had a rough outing in Portland, where he was turned inside out by a resurgent Darren Mattocks. Despite his off-night, the rookie right back, who has been named the sixth-best player in MLS under the age of 24, still has the belief of his coach.

"Like a defensive back in football you have to have a short-term memory. There's gonna be plays where you make mistakes and you get beat, and it's how you respond. You're only as good as your next play," replied Curtin when asked how Rosenberry will rebound. "I don't think he gets too rattled, I don't think he gets too high or too low."

CJ's drought

Forward CJ Sapong has only taken one shot on goal in his last five games, and he's only managed two goals since May 14th. Most people would call this a slump. Jim Curtin is not one of those people.

"Yea, he brings a lot of things to our team. It's a little deceptive, one shot on target. I guess if you take that as a snapshot and don't really look any deeper. He still is creating chances," Curtin shot back when presented with Sapong's recent stats. "It's a fine line. The margins in our league are very small. He's still a forward that I very much believe in. A guy that brings a lot of intangibles to our game and is a big part of our success and one that we know will get going and get goals. Even if he doesn't get goals, he's gonna tribute and make everybody else's job easier around him."

Edu inching closer to return

Maurice Edu hasn't played an MLS match in more than a year. And while he looks to be getting closer and closer to playing to the top flight after a good spell with Bethlehem Steel FC, his return is not yet imminent.

"He had a good 60 minutes with Bethlehem," Curtin said of Edu's rehab performance over the weekend. "Again it's not an injury where he missed a couple weeks and then he gets some minutes and is right back in there. I had a good talk with him this morning. The hope would be to bring him to Toronto; we'll see how the rest of the week goes. He's looked good in training. The data would show in training that he doesn't cover the ground that we would like him to just yet.

"I think he has it in him. He's a guy who would rise to the moment, he's experienced. Certainly up for selection in Toronto, but we'll have to make the appropriate decision knowing that Warren and BC have done a good job as well."

Barnetta and Yaro sidelined

Tranquillo Barnetta sustained a bit of a knee injury in Portland and was subsequently kept from practicing on Wednesday. Despite the knock, Curtin is confident that his #10 can contribute in Toronto.

"Him and Adi had a collision where they banged knees. There was no twist or anything like that, but there is some swelling in the knee. It's mostly precautionary," Curtin said. "He's a guy that, at this point in the year, I want him out there training each and every day, but he knows his body well enough. ... I don't expect him to miss the weekend."

Josh Yaro will already miss this weekend's game due to suspension, but he also seems to be dealing with a concussion sustained in Portland.

"Josh had a little bit of a concussion from the game, so we're kinda evaluating that as well. Obviously with the red card, not as big of a loss, but we'd still like to have him training every single day," said Curtin.

Who is Kevin Kratz?

Much is still unknown about recent signing Kevin Kratz, a journeyman German midfielder who arrived without much fanfare. With Kratz's debut likely weeks away, Curtin shed some light on the Union's newest player.

"He can play as a #6, #8, or #10. He's very versatile. He's more of a thinker. He's intelligent. He's not a guy who's six-foot-four and a bruiser and a tackler," Curtin replied when asked how Kratz will fit into this midfield. "He kinda does it by reading the game. Good feet, comfortable on the ball, and again that decision-making is what we like best with him. If Warren goes down or BC goes down, I'd feel very comfortable plugging him into a big game."