By Kevin Kinkead
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — CBS Philly caught up with Union coach Jim Curtin following Monday’s training session at PPL Park.
CBS: First things first, what did you make of Carli Lloyd and Sunday’s game?
Jim Curtin: Obviously it was exciting. I went out with my daughters and my son and my wife to a restaurant in the neighborhood. It took them a little while to get us seated and as soon as we sat down, it was already 2-0, so we were shocked by that. It was an exciting game, I thought the whole country got behind them. It was a really good run. Finals are usually tight and scrappy games, and for them to put the show on that they did, and have the 4-0 lead as early as they did, it was a unique game for sure, but one they put a stamp on. Carli Lloyd had the game of a lifetime. That’s the game you dream as a kid. Everything just clicks and goes right. She worked incredibly hard the whole tournament, but to get the goal in the final is always special.
CBS: How old are your daughters? Do they look up to her? Are they old enough to understand that?
Curtin: For sure. My oldest is seven and the other one just turned five, so they’re very much into soccer, just because I’m around it a lot. Whatever they want to do, I’m fine with, but it is great to have strong women to look up to. They’re out there competing and proving that they’re the best in the world. A lot of questions – what part of the country are these players from? To have someone like Carli who is from literally right over the bridge here, someone they can look up to, that’s special and unique.
CBS: Out here on the field, it looks like the injury situation is better.
Curtin: Yea, it’s excellent to have competition at every spot. I gave the guys off, a much deserved break with that pattern of Saturday and Wednesday (games) for quite some time. They had time to recoup and put their feet up a little bit, knowing that the second half of the season, 15 games plus the open cup is going to be difficult. Everybody now is healthy and pushing each other in the right way. We’re trying to be smart still with Mike Lahoud and Sebastien Le Toux, just monitoring them and talking to them, but they got through training well and I’m happy with where everybody is at. We have a deep bench now and some tough decisions to make.
CBS: Some of the guys had red jerseys on out there, just a precautionary thing?
Curtin: Seba we wanted to play as a neutral, just to help him ease back into it, kind of like the quarterbacks in football, where no one can hit them [Curtin laughs]. We don’t want to throw him into his first day and have him be taking tackles left and right, but he looked really sharp, sharp enough that we put him on a team and took him off that neutral position. He felt fine. The idea was him, Mike Lahoud, Conor Casey, guys that are easing back into it, give them the red pinny and protect them a little bit.
CBS: How’s Fernando coming along? (ankle injury)
Curtin: Good. He worked out on the side and I’ll get more information (after training). I talked to him before training and he was running around and cutting on his own. He looks like himself, says he still has a bit of discomfort with certain movements, but I think he’ll be available for the weekend.
CBS: Andre Blake – gone for the Gold Cup?
Curtin: Yea, he’s with Jamaica right now, so a great opportunity for him. We looked at how they did in the Copa America. As a team, they were in a lot of the games but just had some critical mistakes, and some were by the goalkeeper. So we’ll see if he gets minutes. He has an opportunity to get some games there, and obviously we’ll be monitoring all of the games at the Gold Cup. We just went through the list of every game so we’ll have eyes from our staff scouting each of the games. Obviously with the window opening up, there’s some guys that we have an eye on.
CBS: Going back to the D.C. game, you made that sub to bring on Fabinho. It was sort of a “false 9” with Chaco Maidana playing up top. That move seemed forced, obviously options were lacking. But did you see anything from that to build on going forward, maybe Fabi at left midfield?
Curtin: I think Fabi is a guy who gives you some versatility. He’s a guy who played a lot in Australia as more of an offensive winger, then they kind of converted him to a defender, and he kind of gave up too much I think. But he has that (midfield ability) in him. The one thing that has improved over these past few games is that he hasn’t made the critical error that maybe he was previously making. That’s just mentality and intensity for the full 90 minutes. His 1v1 defending has been much better, all of the individual battles where he’s stepping in at the right time. He’s not giving up the fouls and he’s winning the ball cleanly. He’s a confident player right now. Confidence goes a long way in this game. You could see him as a guy, if he’s not starting at left back, which he’s definitely earned the right to be a starter at that spot, but he could be a guy you plug in at that spot. He gives you a bit of defensive cover as a midfielder, but he can also get crosses in and can strike a ball pretty hard, as you’ve seen in the past two games. The goal against DC is obviously the one everyone will remember, because it’s a game-winning goal. But you think back to Montreal, the ball he hits outside the box is struck well. So he gives you a bit of an offensive presence. I’m happy with how he’s playing. Between him, Ray Gaddis, and Sheanon Williams, we had the rotation going and now we have to make a tough choice. I’ll look at the matchups and make the best choice against a Portland team that’s playing really well right now. I’m happy for Fabi, though.