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El Brujo expected to only miss 1-2 weeks with injury

Injury woes continue for squad ahead of Orlando City preseason match Wednesday

Carl Gulbish

The good news is Jose Andres Martinez didn’t break anything when he went down in a heap against the Chicago Fire in the Philadelphia Union’s preseason match against the Chicago Fire.

The bad news is he is one of several players on the team out injured with the first leg of the Concacaf Champions League Round of 16 two weeks away.

“Fortunately for us, it looks like it will be about a one to two week recovery for Jose,” head coach Jim Curtin said about the MRI results during his weekly press conference on Tuesday.

Curtin followed his statement on Martinez up with a list of additional injuries in a team that will increasingly have to lean on young and inexperienced players in the squad to step up.

Kacper Przybylko is day-to-day, Cory Burke is still dealing with a groin injury, Sergio Santos is still three to four weeks away from coming back from a toe injury and Ilsinho will be out for a couple weeks with a calf injury.

Added to that are Jose Monteiro and Olivier Mbaizo away for Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers on March 26 and 30. Curtin is counting on both players to be back for the Saprissa game in Costa Rica on April 7.

“Is it the perfect way to prepare for the game to not have those guys here?” Curtin said. “No, but at the same time, we think they’re getting good minutes, invaluable games with their countries and hope they can represent their countries well.”

Stuart Findlay has still not reported to training camp in Clearwater, Florida and seems a major question mark for both legs of the Champions League at this point since an ankle injury limited his playing time since January before he his transfer was finalized.

“He’s a player we have really big plans for,” Curtin said. “I just feel bad that he’s stuck in Poland.”

Curtin revealed that he plans to start Alejandro Bedoya and Jack Elliott in a double pivot on Wednesday and doesn’t plan to start Matej Oravec. That leaves the open center back spot to be filled by veteran Aurelien Collin or rookie Brandan Craig.

“He’s done good with the minutes that he’s played at center back, he’s done good in midfield, and he continues to try to work to get into the starting lineup,” Curtin said. “He won’t be called upon to start tomorrow but I’m sure he’ll do good with the minutes that he gets.”

With Przybylko, Burke and Santos all out, second-year player Jack de Vries will be called upon to lead the front line.

“He’s had some good moments,” Curtin said. “Still some movement things that he can do better, getting in sync with Kacper up top, combining maybe a little bit more with Anthony, finding moments when they’re running behind versus when they come off the back line and try to get the ball.”

Wednesday’s match is at 12:30 p.m. and while there will not be a live stream, the Union will be posting live updates on a blog on PhiladelphiaUnion.com.