FC Cincinnati boss Pat Noonan reveals 'constant' contact with Jim Curtin

Chris Smith
Noonan still speaks regularly to his friend and former colleague.
Noonan still speaks regularly to his friend and former colleague. / Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

After a stunning 2-1 comeback win over the New York Red Bulls in their MLS Cup Playoffs debut, FC Cincinnati now face the daunting task of traveling to the Philadelphia Union.

The Orange and Blue have been blowing away their reputation as Major League Soccer's 'Wooden Spoon' team in 2022, finishing fifth in the Eastern Conference to reach the postseason for the first time.

Much credit must go to head coach Pat Noonan, who joined last winter and has drawn the very best out of the likes of Brandon Vazquez, Brenner, and Luciano Acosta.

Of course, having spent three years as Jim Curtin's assistant at the Union between 2018 and 2021 - where he helped the team lift the 2020 Supporters' Shield - Noonan will go up against a familiar foe at Subaru Park on Thursday.

In fact, Noonan has even admitted he remains in 'constant' contact with his old boss Curtin.

"Yeah, we talk. I would say the phone conversations, maybe a little bit less, but the text messages are constant," Noonan told reporters of his relationship with Curtin ahead of Thursday's clash.

"There's different dialogue we have around our time working together, but just different interests that we both have in different connections to the game and outside of the game where we're always in contact. That's weekly. But, you know, for this particular week, maybe it's been a little bit less. But, there's still been a couple text messages just as far as the Playoffs and the games we're watching. And it doesn't completely shut off. I don't think either of us are like that. But, as we get closer to kick-off, there'll be less communication, and then we'll pick it back up after the game."

Curtin even sent a message to Noonan congratulating FC Cincinnati on their win over the Red Bulls - the result that set up this tantalizing Eastern Conference Semi-Final clash.

"Again, our relationship is strong," Noonan said. "I know they had the bye, but when they win, we're typically congratulating each other. And he did, he reached out. So, you know, I think we're both looking forward to our groups matching up against each other again."

The Philadelphia Union are arguably the most formidable opponent in MLS right now. Curtin's side remained unbeaten at home throughout the regular season, conceding just nine goals in 17 games at Subaru Park, while the Union's 72 goals scored was at least six clear of any other team.

However, perhaps powered by Noonan's familiarity, FC Cincinnati came closest in MLS to having their number.

The Orange and Blue were one of just five teams to leave Subaru Park with a result, drawing 1-1 in June. Just two months later, FC Cincinnati beat the Union 3-1 at TQL Stadium - one of just five defeats Philadelphia suffered all season.

"I think we can certainly take some things from both matchups, you know, in terms of personnel, in terms of what the game can look like," Noonan said of Cincinnati's previous meetings with the Union this season.

He added: "I think you'll see a lot of similarities to how those games were played out and just in terms of with and without the ball, but the intensity, the small details that go into trying to find success will look a little bit different."

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