Limited to a pair of cameos off the bench in the first two weeks of the season, Philadelphia Union forward Sergio Santos had another injury setback this week that will keep him out of the lineup altogether for the next four weeks.
Head coach Jim Curtin revealed the unfortunate news in his weekly press conference on Wednesday.
“We lost Sergio Santos yesterday, had an MRI,” Curtin, noting it was a grade 2 hip flexor. “Basically just went innocently after probably the midway point of a training session went to in his backswing kind of open up his hip and shoot kind of change his idea from hitting with his laces to opening up and something went, he knew it right away. It’s going to be at least four weeks so not good.”
The 24-year-old Brazilian striker was the first big signing of the offseason when he was acquired from Audax in mid-December. The Union paid a $500,000 buyout to acquire his services and beat out Liga MX club Nexaca to his signature.
A knee injury in preseason had already limited Santos’ time in the run-up to his first season with the team. He came off the bench for 22 minutes in the 3-1 loss to Toronto FC and saw out the final 17 minutes of the 2-0 loss at Sporting Kansas City. He registered one shot in the Toronto game, but was whistled for four fouls and shown a yellow card in his MLS debut.
David Accam would be his likely replacement coming off the bench, but Kacper Przbylko is coming off a strong debut for Bethlehem Steel FC in their 2-0 win over Birmingham Legion.
The Union’s other marquee signing, midfielder Marco Fabián, will also be unavailable for the Atlanta game on Sunday. Curtin said the team is not appealing his red card in Sunday’s game when he made contact with Johnny Russell’s rib while trying to avoid a sliding challenge from the Scotland international.