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A Philadelphia Union blog hosted by Christopher A. Vito and Matthew De George

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Curtin picks Jones to start vs. Columbus

Matt Jones was selected by Jim Curtin as Andre Blake's replacement
for Wednesday's game against Columbus.
(Digital First Media/Pete Bannan)
The Philadelphia Union goalkeeper beat has been dormant of late. So Tuesday’s decision of a new starter while Andre Blake is away on international duty was dispatched painlessly.

Jim Curtin announced that Matt Jones will make his MLS debut Wednesday against Columbus, with John McCarthy as his backup.

Jones and McCarthy have alternated as Blake’s backup in games, but that is a largely ceremonial role. McCarthy has played eight games this season with USL club Bethlehem Steel, while Jones has played just once.

Nonetheless, the 30-year-old gets the nod. A veteran of nearly 150 games in the top two Portuguese divisions, Jones will be the first Englishman to suit up in Union history.

“I’ll be more than ready,” Jones said after training Tuesday. “I’ve been ready since preseason. Very excited about the potential to play. It’s all positive. If it’s my name on the team sheet tomorrow, then I’ll be ready to play.”

Curtin said he leaned heavily on goalkeeping coach Oka Nikolov’s discretion in making the pick. Jones was with the team last week but had to return to the Philly area for the birth of his first child, son Jackson, May 26.

“It is a roller coaster of emotions,” Curtin said. “To have your first born is a big deal. I tend to see the positives in that. It makes you a little less selfish. You’re playing for a little guy too, now. It’s a little more special. You have to keep things in check.”

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