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

Monday, July 18, 2016

Training notes: Reenergizing after the Red Bull wears off

Per Union coach Jim Curtin, the club is weighing an appeal to the red card
shown to Ilsinho in Sunday's draw with the Red Bulls.
(Digital First Media/Pete Bannan)
The price of national-television exposure Sunday night is a quick turnaround Monday morning – and all week, really – for the Philadelphia Union. Some 10 and a half hours after a contentious encounter with the New York Red Bulls ended in a 2-2 draw, the Union returned to the training pitch, prepping for an Open Cup tie with the New England Revolution Wednesday and a trip to Montreal Saturday.

A few notes from training:

- With time to reflect on Ilsinho’s red card in the 72nd minute, the Union are considering an appeal to MLS, manager Jim Curtin said. The final decision hasn’t yet been made, but as it’s a straight red, there is an avenue to protest. From Curtin:
“We’re just discussing talking about maybe appealing it. I don’t think it’s a straight red. You could see maybe if they give a second yellow in that case, you could maybe understand it. But it’s for me not a straight red, especially with different tackles that were happening in that game. There was a lot far worse than that. You just want the consistency to be there. Again, it’s a hard call for the ref in the heat of the moment; I wish he just maybe took a moment to take a breath, think about it, talk with his fourth official who maybe has a different view. But when you go quickly to the red, once it’s gone, you can’t go back on it.”

Ilsinho wasn’t available to comment Sunday, but Curtin spoke to the Brazilian winger about the incident, which occurred after Ilsinho, carrying a yellow card, was fouled by Red Bulls left back Connor Lade, a tactical infraction for which he was shown a yellow.

“I talked with Ilsinho, and he didn’t even know the whistle was blown,” Curtin said. “He was trying to continue. He had Lade on his back for a while and he was just trying to keep playing and maybe stuck his arm out. I don’t think it was malicious. I think to give a straight red means that it was a malicious act, and it wasn’t for me.”

- Maurice Edu (left tibial stress reaction) trained fully Monday, a third time in four days for the captain who’s been out since the start of the season. His progress continues to please Curtin.

“Yeah, his body responded well to it,” Curtin said. “There’s still soreness, which is normal. But again, he trained full today, and it looks like he is progressing nicely. … He looked really good. I’m surprised how sharp he is with the ball. His fitness, we’re continuing to push and very happy to see back on the field.”

Curtin began to label Edu’s rehab “ahead of schedule” before correcting that there’s not a concrete timeline in place for a return to first-team action.

“I’m not listening to any schedules,” he said. “I’m just going by what my eyes see out here, and I see a player who looks good with the ball, looks confident, is cutting and changing direction and doing all the things that a central midfielder needs to do. So it’s positive, but there’s still a long way to go in terms of the fitness part of things.”

As Curtin alluded to and reiterated on a follow up query, the vision for Edu is as a midfielder, likely providing options centrally as a No. 6 or 8. Sharper focus will be attained as he’s nearer to a return.

- With a congested week, Curtin reported no injuries from Sunday night. He was happy that his seemed the fitter side, capitalizing on the effort the Red Bulls expounded pressing in the first half that took a toll on their legs.

- The Union’s main priority this week is getting three points at Montreal Saturday. But Curtin will field a strong side against New England in the Open Cup quarterfinal. He expects some rotation at areas of depth – think, and this is speculation, Josh Yaro coming in, Ray Gaddis spelling a fullback, Warren Creavalle and/or Sebastien Le Toux getting looks. But it won’t be a reserve lineup. “We’ll still start our best team,” Curtin said. “The core group of guys that plays the bulk of the minutes is still going to start.”

- As observed by Union PR, Keegan Rosenberry earned a secondary assist on Chris Pontius’ goal Sunday.

It’s the first career pro assist for the All-Star Rosenberry, who funneled the ball down the wing to Fabian Herbers to cross to a waiting Pontius at the far post. Rosenberry also played the arcing cross to the back post targeting Pontius when he was pushed down by Red Bulls right back Sal Zizzo, earning the penalty kick converted by CJ Sapong for the first goal.

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