Philadelphia Union head to Montreal with short-handed roster


The Philadelphia Union will play without a few starters on Saturday afternoon against CF Montreal.

Goalkeeper Andre Blake and forwards Cory Burke and Sergio Santos were ruled out of the match with injuries. Jose Martinez might not play because of a quick turnaround coming back from World Cup qualifying on Thursday.

Coverage of Saturday's match begins at 12:30 p.m. ET with the DraftKings Pregame Show with Sean Brace and Joe Tansey. JP Dellacamera and Danny Higginbotham will be on the game call. Kickoff is at 1:08 p.m. ET.

Burke and Santos' injuries were known on Wednesday when head coach Jim Curtin talked to reporters. Burke is dealing with an ankle issue and he is "ahead of schedule" in his recovery. Santos left Saturday's match against FC Cincinnati. The Brazilian could be available for Wednesday's trip to Minnesota.

Blake suffered his injury during Jamaica's final Concacaf World Cup qualifying match of the October international break.

Martinez played 68 minutes in Venezuela's CONMEBOL WCQ match against Chile on Thursday. Even if Saturday's game was at home, Martinez would face a struggle to play any significant minutes due to the Thursday game and the travel back to the United States.

Martinez's likely absence means Leon Flach would start in the No. 6 role. That would allow one of the Homegrown midfielders to slot into the midfield with Alejandro Bedoya and Jamiro Monteiro. Daniel Gazdag may be placed in a more forward role on Saturday with two forwards out.

Curtin has a few formational options to attack Montreal with. He could go with a 4-2-3-1 with Flach and Bedoya in the double pivot, Monteiro, Gazdag and one of Quinn Sullivan, Jack McGlynn and Paxten Aaronson in the other starting spot.

The more likely situation is for the final starting spot to come down to Gazdag, or a Homegrown midfielder. Flach, Bedoya and Monteiro are basically locks to play with it being a road game against a fellow contender for a home playoff game in the Eastern Conference.

CF Montreal comes into Saturday in seventh place with 40 points. Montreal is 8-3-3 in home games. It played the first half of its home schedule in the United States because of border restrictions.

Curtin called CF Montreal head coach Wilfried Nancy one of the Coach of the Year candidates. Nancy took over in the middle of the offseason for Thierry Henry and has guided a young roster into the playoff hunt amid one of the toughest sets of circumstances in MLS.

The Union are in third place with 45 points. A win would at least help them keep pace with Nashville SC, who comes to Chester next Saturday, in the race for second place. Nashville comes into the weekend with 47 points.

Nashville visits fifth-place D.C. United on Saturday night. Fourth-place Orlando City should pick up three points on the road in Cincinnati. Sixth-place New York City FC takes on the New York Red Bulls on Sunday afternoon.


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