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Cory Burke is back, but return date still to be determined

The Jamaican international last played on April 20, 2019 and he’s currently limited to individual training while in league-required quarantine

SOCCER: APR 20 MLS - Montreal Impact at Philadelphia Union Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The long wait for Cory Burke’s return to the Philadelphia Union lineup is inching to an end, but the actual date when we might see him back on the field for the boys in blue is still yet to be determined.

“Cory’s here, he’s healthy, physicals came back positive,” Curtin said in a call with media over Zoom on Friday. “He has a little bit of a quarantine period that he’s going through right now. He’s able to resume individual work so he’s out on the field by himself with some fitness right now.”

Burke is required to be in quarantine for 10 days before resuming full training with his team, which he last played for on April 20, 2019 in a game against Montreal Impact. He scored his 12th career MLS goal in that match, a 3-0 win for the Union.

“He’s I think people forget, when he left 18 months ago our leading goal scorer,” Curtin said.. “So it’s a great little weapon to get back.”

How much or how soon he’ll be able to be involved remain question marks. He last played in late June while on loan with SKN Polten in the Austrian Bundesliga.

“The timing of exactly when he’ll be back, we still have to see how fit he is and then how sharp he is,” Curtin said. “He’s a guy that always stays in shape but as we all know, game shape is completely different. So some of those tests are going on right now. We’ll see where he’s at physically, but awesome to have him back.”

While the 28-year-old Jamaican international anxiously awaits his return, Curtin will have to shuffle his lineup with Jose Martinez out for several games. He wasn’t in the squad for Venezuela’s game in Colombia on Friday.

He mentioned playing Warren Creavalle at the 6 or in a double pivot and experimenting with Jack Elliott there but with Jakob Glesnes in concussion protocol and questionable for Sunday moving Elliott to the 6 would mean moving Aurelien Collin into the starting lineup for his first appearance of 2020. Curtin said Matej Oravec is in the discussion, but given the fact that he still has recorded a minute this season it’s unlikely he’s seen as a solution while Martinez is away.

“For whatever reason, the whole hashtag starts on the internet and unfair expectations came for the kid,” Curtin said of Oravec. “He’s working hard to get on the field, and we when we feel he’s ready we always put the group that we think can get the most points on the field. It’s a question that comes up every week it seems, but he’ll certainly play when the time is right. We’ll see when that is.”