With the second half of the season beginning, every decision Jim Curtin makes has an impact on the Union’s postseason hopes of hosting a playoff game.

Following the Gold Cup break, the team will enter a four-game stretch that includes three of four games on the road. Currently leading the Eastern Conference with a record of 9-4-4, Curtin said the goal heading into the back half of the season is to keep the foot on the pedal.

“We have to find a way to get points in the first three road games,” he said.

Less than a week ago, the Union added forward Andrew Wooten from SV Sandhausen in Germany. They want him to give the Union the competitive edge to make the push to the postseason.

Wooten isn’t available to play until after July 9, when the transfer window opens and the club receives his international transfer certificate. As the Union await Wooten’s clearance, Curtin is focusing on getting the team ready for New England on Wednesday and New York on Saturday.

Whether Wooten knew it or not, he had a tie to Union’s front office before he was signed. For about 10 years, Wooten has been on the radar of Union Sporting Director Ernst Tanner.

“I had him in mind since I was beginning here,” Tanner said. “It took us a while until we could take the opportunity [to sign him]."

As Wooten was playing for various clubs in Germany, Tanner noticed his growth as a player. According to Tanner, Wooten’s initial talent was limited due to his unconventional journey through the German soccer circuit. Unlike most players who intend to go professional, Wooten didn’t play in a soccer academy.

In the last year, Wooten exploded as one of the biggest goal scorers for SV Sandhausen, scoring 17 goals on the season, 13 of which game during an 18-game span. Curtin said that each player comes into his prime at different stage in his career, and Wooten is coming into his at the right time.

“Andrew is an example of a kid who has played at a high level,” Curtin said. “We feel we’re getting a player who is in the prime of his career."

Now 29, Wooten said he feels like he’s in the best shape of his life. While he waits for the green light to make his MLS debut, Wooten will be working to get into shape after having four weeks off.

“This last season was perfect,” Wooten said. “I was fit. I was healthy, and that’s when I scored the most goals.”

Wooten is a dual-citizen since his father served in the US Armed Forces. When he was 16, he spent a year stateside in Virginia attending Deep Creek High School. He appeared in one exhibition game for the U.S. men’s national team against Costa Rica in 2015. Wooten’s American heritage always made him want to play in the MLS.

However, as the league continues to grow, so does the number of international players on MLS rosters. That is what drew Wooten to the MLS and the Union. In the last week, Wooten has noticed the high-caliber players in the MLS compared to other teams he’s played for.

“Much higher [than] in Germany and my former team,” Wooten said. "I can only get better.”