The Philadelphia Union takes a blow to their forward room with Sergio Santos’ toe injury as reported by Jim Curtin. Curtin stated that Santos will be out “a couple of weeks” with a torn toe ligament. This unfortunately puts him in jeopardy to miss the first leg of the Union’s CONCACAF Champions League tie against Saprissa on April 7th. That game is a little over a month away and historically toe injuries take longer to come back from. This means that “a couple of weeks” could enter the six-to-eight-week range as opposed to two to four. How can the Union manage with Santos out?
This poses a huge issue to what the Union wants to do tactically. Last season the Union typically played with two forwards. With Santos out that leaves them with exactly two out-and-out forwards. Now, they also have 18-year-old Jack De Vries. They have discussed playing him in a second striker or false nine type roll. However, he isn’t a replacement for Santos. Also, we don’t really know if he can do a job at that position.
Forwards and formation
This leaves the team with returners Cory Burke and Kacper Przybylko. We know what Kacper can do; he can hold the ball up well. He is decent at connecting play and he’s very inconsistent in front of goal. Burke on the other hand is a bit of a mystery. We’ve seen him score goals and we’ve seen him play poorly so coming back from his loan spell we really don’t know what he is going to bring to the table.
When it comes to formation though, only having two forwards may lead to some changes. Could Jim Curtin change to a one-striker formation with wingers and rotate the two strikers, or do they stick to this two-striker formation maybe sprinkle in De Vries and just pray Cory and Kacper can stay healthy until Sergio returns?
When could Santos return?
It’s going to be interesting to see one, how long it takes Sergio to return, and two, how they cope with not having him for the time being. We could see a breakout from some unexpected players, or we could see a complete collapse and a horrendous start to the season. Only time will tell, but all we can hope for is a speedy Sergio recovery and for him to return firing on all cylinders.
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Mandatory Credit: Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire