CHESTER, Pa. — The two-week gap between Decision Day and the Philadelphia Union’s playoff opener will be beneficial to the health of the squad.
During his weekly availability, manager Jim Curtin said he is confident forward Kacper Przybylko and midfielder Alejandro Bedoya will be ready for the Oct. 20 clash with the New York Red Bulls.
“With the playoffs as the motivator, I’m fully confident we’ll have all of our players available for selection for the Red Bull game,” Curtin said. “We have enough time, unlike in past years, where we can get healthy… I think with that comes a little bit of recovery for certain guys. Ale and Kacper are the two big ones. Sergio (Santos) trained in full today. He was great. He’ll be fine and ready to go. I’ll just say Kacper and Ale aren’t going to miss this one.”
Bedoya sat out Sunday’s regular-season finale against New York City FC due to a right quad strain. He was involved in shooting drills opposite the first team’s exercises during Wednesday’s training.
Przybylko was not present on the training fields, but the club received good news in his recovery from a foot injury that removed him from Sunday’s starting lineup at the last moment.
“Everything came back okay. He’ll get his treatment and we’ll be cautious this week,” Curtin said of Przybylko. “At the same time, we’re fully confident and expect him to be a part of things when we go up against Red Bull.”
Additionally, Sergio Santos should be ready to play a part, either in the starting XI or off the bench. The Brazilian missed the last three games with a hamstring injury, but he has been training in full.
“Watching Sergio today was really impressive,” Curtin said. “I was a little worried he wouldn’t be back until even maybe the start of next week. To see him out there today fully going was really good. He’s the wild-card. That’s how I would describe him because teams still don’t really know him that well yet because he had a lot of injuries during the course of the season.
“(Santos is) a game-changer in terms of his pace, speed and ability to score goals. It’s a good one to have in your pocket, a good bullet to go to off the bench, or even as a starter in this game depending on what we finally decide.”
With Przybylko, Santos and Bedoya back in the fold, the Union have a variety of lineup configurations to choose from, including opting for either the 4-4-2 or 4-2-3-1.
With a week-and-a-half until the postseason contest, the staff will take that time to evaluate the best possible setup.
“Things will change, some guys will come into great form, some guys will get injured, whatever might happen over the course of the next week, but we’ll put our best team out there and we’re going to go for it,” Curtin said.