Union without 11 players for MLS East final against NYCFC

Sports

Philadelphia Union’s Andre Blake watches as the show by Nashville SC’s Hany Mukhtar goes in for a goal during the first half of an MLS playoff soccer match, Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021, in Chester, Pa. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

The Philadelphia Union will be without 11 players on Sunday when the team plays NYCFC in the MLS Eastern Conference finals because of COVID-19 health and safety protocols.

The players out for the game included captain Alejandro Bedoya and goalkeeper Andre Blake, as well as defenders Jack Elliott, Jakob Glesnes, Kai Wagner and Alvas Powell. Forwards Corey Burke and Sergio Santos, midfielders Ilsinho and Quinn Sullivan and goalkeeper Joe Bendik were also on the team’s list.

The Union were unable to practice on Thursday because of the league’s protocol, but resumed training on Friday.

“Our players have worked tirelessly to get to this point. I know that they’ll be brave, even in the adversity that we’re facing right now,” Union coach Jim Curtin said. “We’ve stepped up in big moments all year long, whether it be international absences, the challenges of CONCACAF, players losing loved ones, adversity both on and off the field. This group always finds a way to step up. And I expect this weekend to be more of the same. We look forward to the challenge. We’ve had a next-man-up mentality all season long.”

Curtin announced during the regular season that all of the Union players had been vaccinated. The individual players may not have tested positive for coronavirus, but may have come into contact with someone with a suspected case.

On Saturday, Philadelphia added three players to its roster for the game, signing defenders Brandan Craig and Anton Sorenson to short-term agreements and adding league pool goalkeeper Greg Ranjitsingh. The Union were able to bring in the players because of extreme hardship.

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