Philadelphia Union head coach Jim Curtin feels the pressure ahead of the Concacaf Champions League semi-final match against Club America as the team battles to maintain the MLS playoff position in 2021.
The Union will be 2-0 aggregate deficit for the series second leg against Liga MX at Subaru Park on Wednesday. The American team collapsed during their first visit to the historic Estadio Azteca, which infuriated Curtin with the result.
Now the head coach admits his squad may not be great but welcomes the challenge ahead.
“I’ve been saying it all season, we’re a good team. We’re not a great team yet, ”said Curtin. “We all have to improve our level here, because here too people remember more than ever how to end the season and not how to begin.
“So we can still have a special year, we can still do special things, but we all have to do our best to make it. Our margin of error at our club is very low. I think we all know that.”
The Union ranks fifth on the Eastern Conference table but is maintaining a slow decline after holding a record of 2-3-2 since early August. Curtin blamed the overlapping games and competitions, claiming their schedule had started to put a strain on everyone involved.
“It’s the first time we’ve been through it and you see, history will tell you, when you play in the Champions League, it has an impact on the team one way or another,” Curtin said at times this week , but it can also have a negative impact and make it a little more difficult.
“It takes a lot of players who work hard. It takes tough decisions for employees to put together a 20 man squad and get your subs properly deployed, ”he later added. “And juggling with all the different rules and different competitions was unique and new to us.
“But it’s a challenge that we want. We want that for our fan base, we want that for our club. It certainly increases the importance of this badge and we recognize that. So we want to give the fans a good show, we want “to run a run and get into the final.
Curtin took a positive turn to defend his side for their efforts in the chaos. With 13 MLS games remaining in the regular season, the Union still has a chance to get their playoff spot.