The madness of the MLS in Covid season continues with yet another Philadelphia Union game tonight in D.C., bringing with it a chance for another player to step up and play the role of hero in what has been a full team effort under less than ideal circumstances.
Just three points separate the Union not only from first place in the East but also a piece of hardware and a Champions League berth, albeit one that will come with an asterisk.
Head coach Jim Curtin, who was rewarded with starting Ilsinho in Sunday’s 2-1 win over Montreal, will again have to shuffle the deck to cover for absences. Jose Martinez didn’t play for Venezuela in either of their two World Cup qualifiers but he’ll be stuck in quarantine purgatory for a few more games.
Curtin also won’t have backup Warren Creavalle to slot in at the 6 and Jakob Glesnes’ still being in concussion protocol means that unless he gives Aurelien Collin his first minutes of 2020 he won’t be experimenting with Jack Elliott in the midfield. That really only leaves the option of sticking with a 4-2-3-1 and an interchangeable midfield of Jamiro Monteiro, Alejandro Bedoya, Brenden Aaronson and Anthony Fontana.
Bedoya will have to be on his best behavior or risk being added to the absentee list. After serving a one-game suspension for yellow card accumulation he’s picked up a yellow in each of the last two games to be back in the danger zone of earning another suspension.
Ray Gaddis is also out and Ilsinho is banged up after his Team of the Week performance on Sunday but D.C. has five players of their own out and an interim coach after Ben Olsen was relieved of his coaching duties.
All signs point to this being the type of game where the result won’t be in doubt and some of the key players can get the final half hour off, but in a season filled with so many anomalies, the more likely outcome is that it will be a grind that comes down to a bailout save by Andre Blake and a moment of brilliance from Anthony Fontana on his 21st birthday.
How to Watch
Where: Audi Field, Washington, D.C.
When: 8 p.m., Wednesday, October 14
TV: PHL 17
Streaming: PhiladelphiaUnion.com in market; ESPN+ out-of-market
Radio: Fox Sports The Gambler 1480 AM and 105.3 HD2
Audio Streaming: IHeart Radio App, Fox Sports The Gambler
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Philadelphia Union: 4-2-3-1 - Andre Blake, Kai Wagner, Mark McKenzie, Jack Elliott, Olivier Mbaizo, Jamiro Monteiro, Alejandro Bedoya, Brenden Aaronson, Anthony Fontana, Sergio Santos, Kacper Przybylko
DC United: via Black and Red United: 4-4-2 - Bill Hamid; Oniel Fisher, Frederic Brillant, Donovan Pines, Joseph Mora; Julian Gressel, Russell Canouse, Junior Moreno, Yamil Asad; Erik Sorga, Ola Kamara
OUT: Paul Arriola (M) - ACL injury
OUT: Mohammed Abu (M) - undisclosed injury
OUT: Ulises Segura (M) - undisclosed injury
OUT: Felipe (M) - ACL injury
OUT: Steve Birnbaum (D) - undisclosed injury
Suspended after next caution: Frederic Brillant (D), Russell Canouse (D)
International duty: None
OUT: Ray Gaddis (D) - undisclosed injury
OUT: Jakob Glesnes (D) - undisclosed injury
OUT: Warren Creavalle (M) - undisclosed injury
QUESTIONABLE: Ilsinho (M) - undisclosed injury
Suspended after next caution: Alejandro Bedoya (M)
International duty: Jose Martinez (M)