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Union Notebook – Cruz Loan, Maidana Injury, And A Charitable Donation

By Kevin Kinkead

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- It was a busy Tuesday afternoon for the Philadelphia Union.

CBS Philly reported that midfielder Danny Cruz is leaving the team on loan. He's reportedly headed to FK Bodø/Glimt in Norway's top flight.

Cristian Maidana left training on Tuesday afternoon after suffering a leg injury towards the end of the session. The Union midfielder, who played a role in all three goals against Real Salt Lake, had trouble placing weight on his leg and left the field in a trainer's cart.

There's no official word from the club, but Maidana's wife took to Twitter that afternoon, claiming that the injury was not serious, but that "Chaco" would miss two to four weeks of action.


New Practice Digs

The Union is training for the first time this week on its brand-new practice fields.

Two grass pitches were installed adjacent to PPL Park last fall.

Philadelphia has not had a true practice facility since it joined Major League Soccer in 2010. The club used to train at nearby Chester Park, and players would take vans to the field after commuting to the stadium. The new setup is within walking distance of the stadium and allows the team to preserve the condition of the grass inside PPL Park.


Following the session, we caught up with manager Jim Curtin for a quick Q/A session.

CBS Philly: A couple of days now since the RSL game. What did you see on the film?

Jim Curtin: There were some positives. I thought the beginning of the game, the start, we had two clear-cut chances in the first ten minutes, which was positive. Maybe we got a little bit stretched out. Real Salt Lake is a very good passing team and you're always going to absorb some pressure from them on their home field. But I was happy with how we executed the gameplan. You don't like to give up three goals, but I think if you go back and look at the three, they were all off of restarts. We didn't get broken down in the run of play for a goal, which is a positive.

CBS Philly: The second goal, it looked like a mess of bodies out there.

Curtin: We talked about it and we watched it. I think the first thing is not committing a silly foul at the top of the box. We conceded one previously before and it was dangerous, then we did it again at the same spot. It's a combination of, finding a balance where you want to be tight to your man but you don't want to get so tangled up that you're getting knocked over. In that case, that's what happened with three of our guys getting knocked down because they're almost caught in the web of bodies, guys grabbing and whatnot. It wasn't good marking on our end and it's something we have to look at and fix.

CBS Philly: Fernando Aristeguieta scored a couple of poacher-style goals. There were some comparisons to Jack McInerney. It looked like Fernando helped himself by working hard, making good runs, and just taking off from good starting points.

Curtin: He finds himself in good spots. He's dangerous. He knows where to run. Even on the (RSL) own goal, Chaco puts in a dangerous ball that causes Nick Rimando to cheat because Fernando is in a good spot at the back post, making that run in there, and that led to the own goal. He has goal-scorer instincts. The ball seems to find him in the box and he does well when he has chances. It's going to be our job to get him two or three looks a game.

CBS Philly: Thoughts on the 4-2-3-1 and Cristian Maidana's play?

Curtin: Cristian was excellent. I thought it was one of his best games. I was really happy with the way the guys executed the gameplan. Again, the hardest part was that we get into the last 15 minutes, the part we talk about – closing games out. Our subs came on and did a really good job. We were let down with a rough call at the end. But Zach Pfeffer came into a big spot, into a tough atmosphere, not an easy game to come into and he did a very good job. Mike Lahoud came in and did a good job as well. We're just disappointed with how the game ended.

Charitable Donation

The Union claimed its first trophy in February, going unbeaten in four straight games to win the IMG SunCoast Pro Classic.

Along with the hardware, the players won $10,000 in prize money for their efforts. In an act of generosity, they've donated $2,500 of that reward to the Philadelphia Union Foundation, which is the franchise's charitable arm.


foundation 2
(photo courtesy The Philadelphia Union)



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