Philadelphia Union head coach Jim Curtin talked about a wide range of topics, looking back at the 2-0 loss to New York Red Bulls on Sunday and forward to a league match against D.C. United this Saturday at home and a road trip to North Jersey for a U.S. Open Cup match against New York Red Bulls during Wednesday’s press conference at Talen Energy Stadium.
Below are some of the highlights:
On multiple first team players - and an entire first team back line - playing for Bethlehem Steel in a 1-0 win over Harrisburg City Islanders on Tuesday.
“I think it was a good exercise for them. Some of them played as recently as a week ago against Harrisburg so to get 90 minutes under their belt is important. All those guys are MLS capable starters too so there’s some decisions that need to be made and again you also know you have two games, two big games against D.C. and quick turnaround against Red Bull again and we’ll have to pick two separate back fours that match up well against the opponent.”
On Josh Yaro’s return to the field and the overall defense
“He’s been out for five months, that’s not easy you know the New York City game it was a little bit of an emergency situation where he comes in with the double center back injury but so yeah he’s getting sharper in each game. I thought he had some good moments last night, he still had some moments where he showed a little bit of rust but at the same time it’s moving forward with him, it’s moving in the right direction. So again, it’s good to have these issues, to have a lot of good players to draw from.”
“And then again, I brought it up to the guys. We had a hard film session today and we were critical of a lot of things, but it concluded with the fact that in our last eight we’ve given up six goals so it’s not all negative. We have to continue to work on things, build on that and it does start with defense in this league. You look at the teams at the top of the standings in each conference and they defend their butts off for 90 minutes. We’ve been able to do it for patches of games, but it’s just been too inconsistent. The poor start, the hot run and now a little bit of a dip again so we have to not allow this to be a long-term thing.”
Any thought of appealing the Derrick Jones red card?
“No...I’ve seen all the discussion of it with guys in the league and comments from different media outlets and commenters on blogs or whatever it might be and you see a wide range of that’s a clear straight red, that’s the definition of a red all the way to I don’t think it’s a yellow to Felipe is this or that to a million different variables but that’s what makes sports great right, it’s a split-second decision... The VAR issue is coming up and the VAR will be part of our league, video review will be part of our league in about a month plus time and it would be an interesting one. I think that would have been a real interesting one. Wright-Phillips almost offsides on the first goal too. Those little decisions, it’s a lot closer than people think and it’s a hard job. I say it all the time...We could talk about the red, we won’t appeal it because it is by definition Derrick does leave his feet and he does go over the ball. Was it malicious, I don’t think he means to hurt Felipe or anything like that and I also don’t think he even touched him so this is where we get into these gray areas but you have to live with the decision.”
On crosses from defenders creating chances
“Not enough crosses is fair from our outside backs and that includes all of them. You do think though the one Ray puts in to Chris is the definition of a great ball and it’s proof that you don’t need to get to the end line necessarily to cross a ball, it’s the deception, it’s the timing of it, it’s the first touch and hitting the ball when the center backs aren’t quite set and the timing of that one is actually perfect so of course we’d like more of that. We’d like Fabi to get more crosses, we’d like Gili to get more crosses, Ray and Keegan get in the box and get balls across. I thought Ray did a good job getting forward. Fabi had some turnovers and didn’t get forward as much as we would have liked in this match.”
Deshorn Brown joining D.C. United ahead of Saturday’s game
“Tough timing because when you think of his name it’s speed. That’s what he is. He looks to get in behind. He’s a guy who creates chances. He’s dangerous. We’ll see him for sure. I’d imagine he’ll start against us. He’ll probably play as a reserve tonight and then they’ll let him on the road, look to be that guy to counter and get in behind.”
On the open spot on the roster
“We have a group of guys that again we believe in but we’re always going to look to upgrade. Every team, especially in the summer months and we’re starting to already see some of the big names that are possibly coming to the league in July in this window...A lot of it’s rumor and speculation, but there’s some big time players that are rumored to be coming in. We’ll do the same. We’ll analyze what we think our strengths are what our weaknesses are where guys are at in terms of their season, where they’re at in their contracts, what we see the future for each guy kind of plan accordingly. You know we’ll have different trialists, different guys in for a look here or there during this time. But at the same time we are still of the belief that we have a good roster. We haven’t had the season we like, we recognize that, we don’t have the amount of points that we’d like, we’re not where where are in the table but we do have quality and we’ve shown glimpses and flashes of when we do turn it on we can play with anybody. Do we need a little more help? For sure, I think that would help any team right now as you get into the summer months and the push for the final stretch.”
On Elías Aguilar
“He’s a Costa Rican player just in training for the week.”
“Ale’s been good, a little rust today, wasn’t as sharp as he’d probably like to be with the ball, but at the same time the fitness side he was pushing doing a good job in terms of regaining fitness and sharpness on the ball. He’s fully ready to go for the weekend so there won’t be any question there. Herbers did the technical exercise for the first time today. Jay Simpson had a little tweak in I won’t say hamstring, but in the glute area in a passing exercise yesterday but I don’t think it’s anything too serious so he just got shut down for the day. Warren had his hamstring just tighten up a little bit yesterday so we were cautious so he’s out. Aside from that a lot of guys got through the 90 minutes last night for Bethlehem with no issues so that’s pretty much the injury update.”