Philadelphia Union manager Jim Curtin has insisted that Brenden Aaronson is still his go-to man when it comes to the number 10 starter.
Following a disappointing defeat against Toronto, there was a general belief that the Union players were quite far from their usual form as it was their first defeat since early September.
One of the players that pulled off an underwhelming performance was youngster Aaronson, substituted early on in the second half before being able to cause any damage to his opponents.
The 19-year-old has seen some competition rising. With the shining of fellow homegrown player Anthony Fontana, doubts might have just started to creep up over the prodigy’s ability to prevail.
Following many rotations in the number 10 position, Curtin was asked if there might be a more permanent change in that area. The Union boss made sure to express that his faith in young Aaronson has not been shaken as he reflected on his season:
‘’I’ll start by saying that Brenden has had an incredible season, the highs have been incredibly high,’’ he said.
Curtin went on to praise him, especially with how animated this campaign has been for the midfielder, he said:
‘’The kid deserves a ton of credit with all the things off the field that are going on around him, his name in so many different rumors,” Curtin said.
The gaffer continued as he analyzed Aaronson’s latest performance, he added:
‘’He is still a guy that I hold to such a high standard, and he didn’t have his best game in the Toronto game. Toronto to their credit made a good job getting numbers around him. He was a little reactionary rather than proactive in the game and I expect him to bounce back strongly against Cincinnati.’’
Curtin concluded by assuring Aaronson’s place in the starting lineup despite Fontana’s fruitful output, he said:
‘’Anthony has stepped on the field also and given us big goals. He’s won us many points now. And it continues to develop and grow. But right now, obviously, we’re still comfortable with Brenden at that 10 spot. Anthony certainly is a guy that can come into a game and change it at the eight and the 10 even as a second striker because he has a great ability to score goals. But you know, Brenden had a tough game against Toronto after what’s been an amazing season and great players, they’ll respond after not their best performance. And I expect Brenden to have a real response, even though he’s still 19.’’
With Jose Martinez now out with his national team for the next five games, there’s a chance both Aaronson and Fontana will both be in the starting XI against Cincinnati tonight.
With MLSSoccer.com reporting earlier this week that Aaronson passed a medical and a deal was finalized with RB Salzburg for him to go to be sold to the Austrian club in January, we might be just starting to see the final lap of the youngsters’ short but prosperous stay with his hometown club.