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May 09, 2016

Union notes: 'Getting worked,' Eurosnobs and Tribbett's ankle

Soccer Union
050916_LAgalaxy_PSP Earl Gardner/Philly Soccer Page

The Philadelphia Union are 1-6-1 all-time against Wednesday's opponent, the LA Galaxy.

It looks like rookie center back Josh Yaro will get a fourth-straight start on Wednesday night against the LA Galaxy.

Ken Tribbett is still recovering from a nagging ankle injury and did not take part in short-sided games on Monday morning. Unless something changes in the next 48 hours, he'll likely be out of the starting lineup, though manager Jim Curtin says that the first-year Union player will be "available for selection" in this match.

The only other missing player was left-sided center back Anderson, who injured himself while playing with Bethlehem Steel.

Making American soccer great again

The arrival of the Galaxy brings star power that we rarely see in Philadelphia.

Wednesday's game may attract soccer fans who watch the English Premier League, or the World Cup, but who don't watch MLS and don't care for the league.

Perhaps the presence of Steven Gerrard will attract Liverpool fans to Chester. Maybe Mexico supporters will turn out for Giovani Dos Santos.

Curtin was asked Monday about converting those viewers into Union fans.

"I think if we play the way we have," Curtin said. "I think there's a still a bit of a misconception on our league as a whole, of, 'England does it the best,' or 'Mexico does it the best.' I think we've got a growing league, and if they see the product live, and we put in a good performance, then I think you can turn heads and steal fans. I think, more and more now, it has happened, whether you're walking around the neighborhood in South Philly, and you run into a Mexican fan, who says, 'you know, you guys are pretty good'. And you say, 'yea, we are, we have a good league, we have a strong league.' 

"So I think you can steal fans away, in that regard, with good performances. Is there still going to be the certain kind of 'Eurosnob' that just thinks they do it better? That's fine. We admit we're not quite on that level yet, but at the same time, we're a league that's improving.

"We have good players. All you have to do is turn and ask the guys who came over here what they think of the league. Beckham, Gerrard, they've done it at the highest level, but they still have a respect for the players in this league and the work that's put in. Is it perfect yet? No, but it is growing. I think when fans see it live, and they see the stars coming here, some in their prime still, it can only help, and benefit, and get those fans out to Talen Energy Stadium.

Curtin pauses, then continues

"I'd just add, those Eurosnobs are the same people that, they're those old football and meathead friends that say that soccer isn't going to become big in this country. It's here, so you have to change your views sometimes."

Hungry for revenge

Richie Marquez grew up in Pomona, California, about 40 miles from the StubHub Center.

That's why last year's 5-1 road loss to the Galaxy was understandably more disappointing than other 2015 defeats.

Marquez spoke with Philly Voice about his next chance to play against his hometown club.

Philly Voice: LA Galaxy coming to town, what do you think?

Richie Marquez: "I'm ready for it. I'm excited. That bitter taste from last time we played them out in LA, that's still lingering for me."

Philly Voice: What do you remember about last year's game?

Marquez: "Getting worked 4 to 1, or 5 to 1; I don't even remember the score actually, I'm just hungry for that revenge, you know? That's what I keep thinking about, is getting back at them.

Philly Voice: Why that game specifically?

Marquez: "I feel like that was the one game where we came out knowing that we weren't the better team, confidence-wise. They put that pressure on us early. Also, I was in front of my family and friends, being from that area, so that's part of it."

Philly Voice: You just feel like it was incomplete like you guys didn't show what you're capable of?

Marquez: "Exactly."

Philly Voice: What do you think about the Galaxy this year?

Marquez: "It's the Galaxy. They're always a dangerous team. But I think we've got a new mentality this year, so I think it's going to be a fight, and that's what we look forward to."

Philly Voice: They've thrown some different looks out there this year, some different guys. Robbie Keane, Gyasi Zardes, Giovani Dos Santos, even Mike Magee – what goes into the gameplan when you have a bunch of different guys who can do a bunch of different things?

Marquez: "I think it's just about being more tuned in mentally. You know that everyone on that team is capable of making a special play. It's just being aware, I think, for 90-plus minutes, of where they're at, and knowing that they're special players. But you can't be fearful of them, because when you put that in your head, that's when the problems occur."

Philly Voice: Do you guys have an idea of who they're going to bring out here?

Marquez: "No, not yet, but I'm assuming they'll bring their whole squad. Why not? Why shouldn't they?"

Philly Voice: "I guess it was a little weird with the timing for some of their guys. Ashley Cole served his red card suspension Sunday. Steven Gerrard just came back from injury. Maybe in the past they might not bring their "stars" out here for a midweek game. You think there's anything different with that?

Marquez: "I don't think so. I think they'll bring their stars. There's no reason why they shouldn't."