Press Conference / Union

Marco Fabián’s injury shows how far Brenden Aaronson has come

Photo: 215pix

Philadelphia Union manager Jim Curtin confirmed’s report that Designated Player Marco Fabián is likely to miss time with a sprained ankle suffered in Saturday’s loss to Los Angeles Galaxy but didn’t completely rule him out of this weekend’s home tilt with Montreal Impact.

“The swelling has gone down quicker than we had anticipated,” Curtin told the group of reporters assembled at Talen Energy Stadium for the coach’s weekly press conference. “He hopefully will be back in training the start of next week. [There’s an] outside chance for him to come off the bench this week.”

The injury occurred in the 17th minute when Fabián attempted a long-distance shot from midfield after spotting goalkeeper David Bingham off his line. A twist of his planted left foot resulted in the pain which forced the player off in the 23rd minute.

When the most expensive signing in franchise history is injured, there’s generally a greater sense of concern. After all, the Mexican international’s 1.4 key passes per game is tied with midfielder Haris Medunjanin for the team high, and his five shots per game is more than double that of his next closest teammate.

For the Union, it’s easy to trust an 18-year-old to succeed at the No. 10 in Fabián’s absence. Brenden Aaronson already has.

“We’re weighing the importance of points early in the season and other player’s form in the same position,” said Curtin, hinting that Aaronson’s form could ease the need to rush his star back into the lineup. “We’ll make the right decision.”

Aaronson started his first game for Philadelphia after Fabián picked up a red card and accompanying two-match suspension against Sporting Kansas City. All he did was score his first professional goal in the home of the defending MLS champs, Atlanta United FC.  The Homegrown from Medford, NJ hasn’t left Curtin’s gameday 11 since.

The kid has become the most discussed Union player in both the local and national media.

With the injury of the El Tri veteran comes short term clarity. Curtin had to fit five players— Fabián, Aaronson, Medunjanin, captain Alejandro Bedoya, and recently acquired Jamiro Monteiro— into his four-man midfield diamond.

Against the Galaxy, Curtin sacrificed a forward and played Fabián as a second striker to accommodate all five players. Curtin should get at least another week to evaluate the play of Monteiro and Aaronson. If they continue their solid run of form, the coach will need to solve a good problem to have.

“Marco is an important, critical guy to our team.” Curtin continued, “It’s been a little bit stop-and-start, but he’s going to be a vital part of our success this year.”

Curtin’s tidbits
  • Forward Kacper Przybylko has often been the odd man out given the Union’s constraints with international roster spots. Fabián’s injury could open the door for the Polish striker coming off a USL Team of the Week performance. Curtin said Przybylko will be “rewarded” for his play, and it’s “likely” he makes the 18 this weekend.
  • “We come back home for six of eight,” Curtin said of the upcoming schedule. “We have to get on a run here in our building.” It starts this weekend against the Impact, who the Union haven’t beaten at home since 2014.
  • Speaking of the Impact, “Overall the cohesiveness of their group in the last three games has been very difficult to break down.”
  • “Ran into a very in-form team in their building,” Curtin said of the loss to the Galaxy. “Got punished by Zlatan in the box.”
  • Center back Auston Trusty will miss his first game since his debut in last season’s opener. Curtin on his likely replacement, Mark McKenzie: “He’s been great in training these past couple of weeks. He’s comfortable with the team. He knows the style and formation we’re playing now. Mark is a guy we have full confidence in.” Mentions his speed allows the Union to continue playing with a high back line.
  • Forward Cory Burke burst onto the scene last year away at Montreal. Curtin said, “It was a real catalyst to his career.”

One Comment

  1. A good way to anticipate how the first team are going to handle their 10 internationals among their eight MLS international roster slots ins to visit the MLS website Friday later in the day, and open the drop-down menu “Rosters.”
    Scroll down past the initial 26-man list of everybody to the breakdown (“Roster Composition”) and on the right side find the categories “International players that don’t count against slots” and “Unavailable players.”
    A key detail is the date at the bottom of the introductory explanatory paragraph that is highlighted in yellow. While it is the boilerplate that most of us skip when we are in a hurry, take note the explanation preceding the highlighted part of the sentence the first time you look.
    AS I am typing, Santos and Przybylko are the players listed. By Friday It would be reasonable to expect Fabian to replace Przybylko.
    Here is the link since I cannot hyperlink within the comments box.
    So far this season, this trick has worked.

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