Philadelphia Union head coach Jim Curtin promised that squad rotation would be coming over the course of an eight-day stretch with three games. After a mostly unchanged lineup was shut out in Columbus Wednesday night it might actually be happening.
Curtin said during a conference call with reporters on Friday that there will be “at least four changes, possibly more” for Saturday afternoon’s 3 p.m. match against the Montreal Impact.
Two of those changes may be forced because of injury.
Fabinho left Wednesday night’s match with a cramp and will be available for the 18, but Ray Gaddis or even Olivier Mbaizo, who has looked sharp in his two appearances with Steel, could also be called on. Matthew Real is in Florida with the United States U20 team ahead of a pair of games in Honduras next week.
CJ Sapong is also banged up and questionable for Saturday.
Cory Burke would be the next up at striker since Jay Simpson, the team’s fourth-highest paid player, didn’t make the trip.
“We see them every day in training, and right now, Cory is a little bit ahead of Jay,” Curtin said.
Burke has made seven appearances, all off the bench, and logged 99 minutes. He has an assist for the first team but has two goals on loan with Bethlehem Steel FC. Simpson has played just 39 minutes.
Other possible changes could involve the two highest profile off-season additions in David Accam and Borek Dockal.
Curtin said he didn’t want to reveal his lineup decisions for tomorrow but did tip his hand a little when he said that Anthony Fontana would play a role, either in the starting XI or off the bench. The 18-year-old hasn’t played since he played eight minutes off the bench on March 31.
Curtin also left open the possibility that David Accam could come off the bench instead of starting. If he does sit Accam, Fafa Picault would likely take his place on the left wing. Fabian Herbers would be an option to start on the right side. Marcus Epps has come off the bench in each of the last two games while Ilsinho has started the last three games on the right side.
“You’ll see some rotation in the wide spots,” Curtin said.
One area there likely won’t be any rotation is the central midfield partnership of captain Alejandro Bedoya and Haris Medunjanin. Derrick Jones did not make the trip and hasn’t played since he made a five-minute cameo the first game of the season.
Bedoya and Medunjanin have started in the midfield 15 straight games dating back to September 2017. Medunjanin has started all 43 games the Union have played the last two seasons, subbing off only once in the 88th minute against New England Revolution last July.