Jim Curtin – Philadelphia Union – Manager point

With a Wednesday night home match against FC Cincinnati nearing (7:30 pm ET | TV & streaming info), Philadelphia Union head coach Jim Curtin can’t help but look at the big picture.

His side, currently third in the Eastern Conference standings, is about to open a stretch of five of six games at Talen Energy Stadium. After playing the expansion Orange-and-Blue, the Union will welcome the New England Revolution on Saturday.

Both are below Philadelphia in the standings, and this could mean one of two things, according to Curtin.

“You can either separate or you can go back into the pack,” Curtin said. “We want to try and separate.”

To do that, the Union will look to build off a 1-1 draw at the Vancouver Whitecaps last Saturday. With injuries piling up, some unfamiliar names – Homegrown goalie Matt Freese started and Kacper Przybylko scored a second-half equalizer – played pivotal roles.

There’s a chance Mexican international Marco Fabian returns from an ankle injury, but even that’s no guarantee. Whether he has a full-strength XI or not, Curtin feels what matters most is the next game ahead.

“Really happy overall to take a point [at Vancouver], but we stress now to the group that the point doesn’t mean a whole heck of a lot if we don’t come home and take care of business,” Curtin said. “We have worked very hard as a team, as a staff. We’ve shown our depth and we’ve worked hard to set ourselves up for five out of six at Talen Energy Stadium.”

To do keep trending positively, the Union will hope for a repeat of when they beat FC Cincinnati, 2-0, on March 30 at Nippert Stadium. 

But Curtin isn’t scoffing at the threat Alan Koch’s team provides, either. He said Cincy could have earned all three points last weekend from a 1-0 loss at the New York Red Bulls, and the potential return of star striker Fanendo Adi raises an eyebrow or two.

HIGHLIGHTS: FC Cincinnati vs. Philadelphia Union | March 30, 2019

Both teams are also dealing with short rest, having just three days to recover. 

“It’s always most fair when it’s on the same rest,” Curtin said. “It’s not a situation where a team has a full week to build up and have fresh legs, so we’re both in the same difficult circumstances of having played.”

Talking points aside, the goal remains singular for Philadelphia: get the job done.

“Overall in our home stadium, if we play our game,” Curtin started, “we want to play the game on our terms and be the team that dictates the tempo of things and keeps a zero.