Union clash with MLS-best Los Angeles FC
Philadelphia Union coach Jim Curtin will face his former boss and mentor when Bob Bradley’s Los Angeles FC squad visits Chester, Pa., on Saturday night.
Curtin is enjoying easily the best of his five full seasons in charge of the Union (15-8-6, 51 points), who currently sit second in the Eastern Conference – three points behind first-place New York City FC — and are coming off a home victory over third-place Atlanta United last weekend.
And they may be playing LAFC (19-4-6, 63 points) at the right time. The Supporters’ Shield leaders and Western Conference regular-season champs are amid their first three-game winless stretch of 2019. MLS leading scorer Carlos Vela has missed two games with a hamstring injury, though he is no longer listed as questionable on the team’s injury report.
Philadelphia’s leading scorer, Kacper Przybylko, has found the net in four of his past five games.
Having played for Bradley to begin his pro career with the Chicago Fire, Curtin is under no illusions of how tough it may be to knock off his mentor’s squad.
“You just have to turn on an LAFC game and you can see what he’s built already in a very short amount of time there,” Curtin said. “They play a style and brand of soccer that has a true identity. And you see it, it jumps off the page when you turn on one of their games.”
Bradley’s standards may also be higher than any other MLS coach, following a career that has seen him head the U.S. national team, the Egyptian national team and several European club sides. He remains the only American to be a head coach in the English Premier League.
Last Saturday, Bradley watched his side concede twice before halftime on the road to lose an early lead before Diego Rossi leveled in the 78th minute to earn a 2-2 draw against Orlando.
Bradley acknowledged many coaches would consider that a moral victory. Not him.
“When we got to 2-2, I thought had we been able to stay a little bit sharper, I thought the third goal was there for us. So I’m not really very happy.” Bradley said afterward. “Some people say, ‘That’s ’cause it’s your job,’ and, ‘It’s a good point.’ I told (the players) tonight that, ‘No I don’t really feel that way.'”
–Field Level Media