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11 Union players in Covid-19 health and safety protocol ahead of Eastern Conference Final

The players currently listed as unavailable played a total of 17,312 minutes this season

Jim Curtin walking on the field at Subaru Park during a training session on December 4, 2021
Matt Ralph

With just a day until one of the most important matches in Philadelphia Union history, bad news struck the boys in blue as 11 players are currently listed as out for the Eastern Conference Final.

Per the league’s Game Guide, they are listed as out due to the league’s health and safety protocol:

Alejandro Bedoya
Andre Blake
Joe Bendik
Cory Burke
Jack Elliott
Jakob Glesnes
Alvas Powell
Sergio Santos
Quinn Sullivan
Kai Wagner

Per the league’s definition of “Health and Safety Protocols,” a player can be listed as ‘Questionable’ or ‘Out’ for the following reasons:

  • Quarantine due to participating in high risk behavior
  • Quarantine related to being a high risk close contact
  • Pending COVID-19 test results
  • An inconclusive COVID-19 test result
  • A positive COVID-19 test or a confirmed case
  • Other illness not related to COVID-19

High-Risk Behavior
Looking at the leagues Safety protocol that was released at the start of the season, they classify high-risk behavior as activities where physical distancing is not observed between different groups and/or face masks are not worn by all participants. Players or staff members who have engaged in high-risk behavior will be required to quarantine for five days, unable to participate in group training or matches and conduct daily testing for 14 days.

High-Risk Close Contact
Players and staff fall into this category if they have been in close contact with someone that tested positive for COVID-19 and it falls into a High-Risk Close contact. The centers for disease control classifies a high-risk contact as anyone who lives together, exchanges bodily fluids, gathers in an enclosed space for more than 15 minutes with a person who either tested positive, or 48 hours before they tested positive. The player or staff would be required to quarantine for five days, not participate in any group training or matches and conduct daily testing for 14 days.

Head coach Jim Curtin has said in the past that his players are fully vaccinated. Which according to the league’s return to play report means the players would be exempt from the five-day quarantine period. They will also be tested for 14 straight days following the high-risk exposure.

The list also has six starters from last match, including the entire back line of the Union. The two center backs Glesnes and Elliott who have played for a combined total of 6030 minutes are currently out. The two have played together in 33 of the 34 matches the Union have had this season. Good news for the back line as Olivier Mbaizo, who has spent the past few weeks unavailable because of the league’s health and safety protocols was back at training.

Arguably one of the top goalkeepers in the league, Andre Blake, who came up big for the U last weekend is also on the list. Blake has played in 26 matches this season, missing matches due to being called up to the Jamaican National team. Blake currently has only left 24 of the 100 balls he has faced go to the back of the net.

Based on Saturday’s training session — Matheus Davo and Matt Real were not spotted — this is who would be available at a minimum if the status of the 11 players in protocol doesn’t change:

  • Goalkeepers (2): Matt Freese, Greg Ranjitsingh
  • Center Backs (4): Stuart Findlay, Aurelien Collin, Brandan Craig, Cole Turner
  • Outside Backs (2/3): Olivier Mbaizo, Nathan Harriel and Anton Sorenson if the league allows it
  • Midfielders (8): Jose Martinez, Jamiro Monteiro, Daniel Gazdag, Leon Flach, Paxten Aaronson, Jesus Bueno, Jack McGlynn, Anthony Fontana
  • Forwards (1): Kacper Przybylko

Flach can also play left back and Craig and Turner have also played in the midfield.