Just how hot is Jim Curtin's seat right now?
A month after the Philadelphia Union lost in the U.S. Open Cup final, Curtin’s group was bounced from the Audi 2018 MLS Cup Playoffs with a 3-1 loss at New York City FC in Wednesday night's Knockout Round.
Given those missed opportunities at the club’s first trophy and first playoff win, and the fact that Curtin is out of contract heading into 2019, does he think he’ll be back as head coach?
“That’s not up to me,” Curtin said when asked about his job status after Wednesday’s loss. “That’s up for them to decide.”
Them mostly means sporting director Ernst Tanner, who was brought on to replace Earnie Stewart in early August. The Union went a scorching 7-1-2 after that hire to set club records for the most points (50) and wins (15) in a season, before stumbling into the playoffs on a two-game losing streak that dropped them to the sixth seed in the East and a brutal Knockout Round matchup at Yankee Stadium.
“Our players achieved our best win total this year, our highest point total,” Curtin said. “Perspective-wise again, we lost to the Supporters’ Shield winners in the New York Red Bulls and we lost to New York City FC, who has some quality players in the group. The season doesn’t end the way we wanted it to but at the same time, I’m still proud of my work my staff has done. I’m proud of the work the players have done this year.”
A Philly-area native, Curtin has been with the Union in some capacity since their expansion season in 2010, starting as an academy coach before becoming an assistant with the first team and then head coach in the middle of the 2014 campaign, first on an interim basis.
He led the Union to the Open Cup final in 2014 and 2015 and into the MLS Cup Playoffs in 2016 but is now 0-5 in finals and playoff games.
“Next year, we’ll probably expect some changes,” captain Alejandro Bedoya said, speaking to reporters generally about the future and not specifically about the coaching staff. “And hopefully we can grow into a better team.”