Philadelphia Union can count on Derrick Jones after sterling sub appearance

CARSON, Calif -- The Philadelphia Union found themselves in unfamiliar territory after their 0-0 draw with the LA Galaxy, but for the team that extended their winless streak to 16 games it’s a silver lining.

The club walked out of the StubHub Center with a result for the first time since 2012, that game a 2-1 Fourth of July victory in which current Galaxy player Jack McInerney made the scoresheet for the Union. That win started a three-match win streak for the 2012 Union. 

Getting a shutout in what has been a difficult place to play for Philadelphia could be the step in the right direction they’ve been looking for.

“Obviously,” said head coach Jim Curtin, “we talked a lot this week about being organized defensively. It started with keeping a clean sheet. That was the goal for the night. We’re only going to get points if we’re able to do that.

“So, from that standpoint I thought it was a great effort from our guys. Really proud of the group staying together.”

One performance that stood out to coach Curtin, and one which bodes well for the future of the Union, was the play of Derrick Jones. The Homegrown midfielder was the first player off the bench in the 65th minute and gave the Union some life in a period when they were starting to get stuck behind the ball.

“Derrick’s been great for us all year,” said Curtin. “He’s been a guy who we can count on. He plays beyond his years, he breaks up a lot of plays, he gave us some fresh legs in a moment where we needed them. When he gets on the ball and starts bouncing off guys, he tends to always come out with the ball at his feet.”

Another one for the future is Fafa Picault, who made his first start of the season as a left winger in the Union’s 4-2-3-1. He registered a chance created while sticking mostly to his left side. The Galaxy have been platooning the right back position lately, and Curtin saw this as a potential exploit.

“On the night we wanted to try to get in behind their right back,” said Curtin. “They had the kid [Nathan] Smith in there last week, and they kind of juggled things in the back, and played [Bradley] Diallo back there. The goal all week was to win balls and try and use his speed to get in behind the right side.”

For Picault, the start was just another game.

“It felt good,” said Picault, “obviously, to get the start. A point coming here at an away game, the West Coast, to at least get a point out of it against a good team like LA. It was a bit of a scrappy game. A fighting game. We got a result, and we go back to Philly now, and focus on the next home game.”