Blogs > Union Tally

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

Friday, May 19, 2017

Notes from training: Riding the wave into Colorado

Ilsinho has started two straight games at the No. 10 role. Jim Curtin
seems to think he could be up for a third Saturday against Colorado.
(For Digital First Media/Mike Reeves)
CHESTER >> For the third time in eight days, the Philadelphia Union will suit up Saturday night against the Colorado Rapids. That backlog of games could mean changes are in the offing, though that conventional wisdom opposes the Union’s red-hot form, in search of the franchise’s first ever four-game winning streak and enjoying in five-game unbeaten run, with the Western Conference straggling Rapids visiting to boot.

Some notes from training Friday:

- Roland Alberg won’t be a part of any squad shuffling Saturday. Manager Jim Curtin ruled the midfielder out after an injection in Alberg’s strained quad. He worked to the side of training with the goal of prepping him for Real Salt Lake next week. “Difficult to not have him, but at the same time, we know that other guys can step up in his absence, but it looks more like next Saturday in Salt Lake hopefully,” Curtin said.

- Two of the more obvious candidates for change Saturday are the oldest legs in the side – defender Oguchi Onyewu and midfielder Ilsinho. Onyewu has played every minute of the three-game winning streak, and Ilsinho has two starts in the No. 10 role under his belt this week. The Brazilian logged 64 minutes in the win over D.C. United and 67 Wednesday against Houston. Here was Curtin’s answer when asked directly about Onyewu and Ilsinho:
“You look at the data: Gooch plays a position where it’s a lot of organizing, it’s winning your duels and he’s done an excellent job of that. It’s not a position where it’s as taxing on the legs. It’s still difficult, but I think he’s up for the task of turning it around. Ilsinho in a newer position for him, I think has adjusted well to it. He’s doing a lot of running defensively. It is tough on the legs, but we’ll look at everything. We’re kind of still in the process of picking the final lineup, but he tells me he’s feeling great.”
On paper, this looks like a decent time to get Adam Najem his first start – at home, against a struggling team, maybe lower expectations. But if Ilsinho is ready to go, he’s Curtin’s preference, it seems.

- One area where the Union have options to swap is the wing, in part because Curtin’s system asks so much of wingers defensively. Chris Pontius and Fafa Picault have forged a bountiful pairing, but Fabian Herbers could slip in a start Saturday, given how the wingers tired against Houston and contributed to the Dynamo applying more pressure than Curtin would’ve liked. Curtin Friday:
“They’re both playing great. Again, we’ll have to look at what makes the most sense. Do we use one as a reserve? It’s a possibility. But they’re confident right now, they’re flying, they’re getting goals and assist, which is a bonus. But it always starts with our pressure. You could see in the second half against Houston, as we fatigued in the hot weather, first hot-weather game that we’ve had, we don’t get pressure to the ball, and once our group doesn’t get pressure to the ball defensively, we struggle.”
- A little video break, with a caveat:

Curtin said there’s no update on Edu, so don’t take this as the “Maurice Edu is nearing a return” breaking news. He was out there with teammates and doing some video spots for Union PR, but there’s no grand change in his status.

- Tim Howard will come to Philadelphia for the first time as an MLS player between the posts for the Rapids. Breaking down the star U.S. goalie is a daunting prospect, which Curtin acknowledged:
“It’s tough because when you do break down a really organized defensive team in Colorado, the last line of defense is Tim Howard … one of the top goalkeepers in the history of our country. He’s a great leader. Anytime he’s in the goal, there’s a darn good chance he’s going to get a clean sheet. So you want to avoid a day where they frustrate us and we get a ton of chances and we don’t finalize and execute in front of goal. It takes a special effort to beat a guy like Timmy. We’ll have to be on our game.”

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home