Press Conference / Union

Przybylko out, Bedoya ready for showdown in Atlanta

Photo: 215Pix

Philadelphia Union will again be without their leading scorer, forward Kacper Przybylko, for Thursday’s Eastern Conference Semifinal showdown with Atlanta United.

Head coach Jim Curtin called it “highly doubtful” Przybylko would play tomorrow night during a teleconference with reporters Wednesday afternoon. It’s a big loss as the Union look to unseat the defending MLS champs.

“As the hours go by, highly unlikely he’ll be able to partake in the game in Atlanta,” said Curtin.

Przybylko has been unable to resume training while still dealing with pain in his injured foot, a knock picked up just before the Union’s final match of the season. Despite a two week layoff, the Polish striker was unable to play in the opening round of the MLS playoffs. Last Wednesday, Curtin said there was a plan in place for Przybylko to feature against New York Red Bulls. A setback on Thursday, however, left the Union without the player who scored 15 goals this season.

The Union were able to overcome Przybylko’s absence, and two separate two-goal deficits, in Sunday’s 4-3 win over the Red Bulls. The victory was Philadelphia’s first ever in postseason play, and it may not have been possible without the return of their captain, Alejandro Bedoya.

Bedoya also missed out on the Union’s final game of the regular season after sustaining a quad injury in Philadelphia’s 2-0 loss against Columbus Crew SC.  In his return against New York, the midfielder’s impact was felt both the team’s psyche and the scoreline. Bedoya opened the scoring for Philadelphia with a scorched shot in 30th minute, initially cutting the deficit to one. That goal, however, seemed to aggravate the captain’s injury.

“Even on the goal I scored, when I hit the ball with my laces, it’s just my quad,” said Bedoya after the win. “I told them I got a cramp really, really bad or I pulled it. It’s whatever. You have three months in the offseason to get better.”

Bedoya eventually left the game in the 112th minute, appearing to hold his injured quad. Curtin said it was just cramps.

The coach allayed any concern that Bedoya would be able to feature against Atlanta.

“He’ll be on the field,” said Curtin. “He’s starting.”

It’s great news for the Union after Bedoya put in a “warrior’s performance,” according to Curtin. The coach also said the 10 players who will join Bedoya in the starting lineup is set, but the formation will be determined by Atlanta’s approach.

Curtin clarified the Union’s setup, which has alternated between a 4-2-3-1 and a 4-4-2 diamond this season, will depend on if United play with a back three or back four.

The uncertainty is due to Atlanta’s own injury concerns. The home side will likely be without center backs Miles Robinson and Michael Parkhurst.


  1. Jesus I hope we don’t come out in a 4-4-2. The team is much better suited to a 4-2-3-1. Atlanta will carve us up like Thanksgiving turkeys if we play the first half in a 4-4-2.

    • Counterpoint to consider: The Union previously held Atlanta to 1 goal in their building playing a 4-4-2 and without Monteiro. In fact, they should have won that game because, despite having only 28% possession, they created more chances than Atlanta, and had more shots on goal. Looking at the three games this year in which the Union truly got carved up — 4 goals in each — doesn’t really support the 4-4-2 weakness either. One was NYCFC away, where the Union played 4-2-3-1 with Monteiro at the 10. The other two were 4-4-2’s, but without Monteiro available to play opposite Bedoya.
      To me, in a game where Atlanta is going to have the bulk of possession, the 4-4-2 makes good sense. Start Fafa and Sergio up top and let them terrorize Atlanta’s duct-taped back line with their speed on the counter.

    • I should add that part of the use of the 4-4-2 is that it gives you two strikers to support the high press. Considering Atlanta will be without two of their first-choice CBs, the press might be even more effective than usual. The question, I suppose, is whether the Union have enough gas in the tank to play that way.

    • They held Atlanta to 1 goal playing a 4-4-2 vey early in the season, when Atlanta was still in a rut and Josef wasn’t scoring. Now the dude is well-nigh unstoppable, and he’ll have Barco, Meram, Gressel, Nagbe, and maybe Pity Martinez coming behind him. Medunjanin will play his usual “finger defense”, and we’re guaranteed to give up one or more goals from late runners in the box.

      I see your point about the press, but I think they can press very nicely with Santos up top, and Picault/Aaronson/Bedoya behind him.

  2. Przybylko being out is tough. I’m hoping Brendan has another great game against United.the scoring needs to come from all around like Sunday. more importantly, defensively, they need to be tighter than they’ve been in 2 months. Ale will be necessary. CBs and Blake need to be flawless.

  3. The performance on Sunday shows me that this team believes that it can play with anybody; and come back from any situation. I’ll even say that despite some season long doubts, apparently Fabian knows how to show his skills when the chips are on the table.

    Przybylko’s absence is regrettable. But we have the depth. Wondering if the bench should include Fontana to come on as a sub. Fafa showed he’s hungry in the playoffs…I just wish we could see more presence from Wooten.

    Bring it home for the Conference Finals boys!

  4. OneManWolfpack says:

    Next Wednesday is WIDE OPEN for me… I’d LOVE to have plans… say around 8pm, in Chester… LET’S GO UNION!!! SHOCK THE WORLD TOMORROW!

  5. Toronto beat NYCFC…home match again if we win. If…..

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