With two of their three goalkeepers out injured, the Union brought in an emergency replacement on a short-term loan deal Friday.
Charlie Lyon, a 27-year-old MLS pool goalkeeper who trains with the Portland Timbers’ USL team, has come to Philadelphia for the weekend to back up Carlos Miguel Coronel in Saturday’s game against the New England Revolution.
Lyon said he found out he was coming here Wednesday night, and got on a plane late Thursday morning.
“I’m trying to learn as many names as I can [and] get up to speed with the game plan,” he said. “Ultimately, it’s the same game played everywhere. There is a little bit of this common language, even if I don’t know names and personalities and personnel just yet.”
Starting goalie Andre Blake remains out with a strained adductor muscle in his right thigh that he suffered while taking a goal kick in the April 20 game against the Montreal Impact. Curtin said he hopes Blake will be back for the May 18 game against the Seattle Sounders. That would give Blake two to three games with the Union before leaving for the Gold Cup.
Backup Matt Freese is out after getting banged up making a save in last Saturday’s win over FC Cincinnati. Curtin said Freese has a partially torn oblique muscle and is out 4-6 weeks.
So Lyon will be with the Union for at least two weeks. Coronel, who has pitched shutouts in both his appearances so far, will be the starter.
The only goalkeepers in the Union’s stable who could have stepped in are academy players Kris Shakes and Tomas Romero. Both are 18-year-old amateurs, and they would have lost their college eligibility by being rostered. Shakes has committed to Penn State; Romero, a Cherry Hill native, has committed to Georgetown.
Though both players likely have professional futures, the Union understandably didn’t want to upend their potential pathways right now.
Lyon was drafted by the Seattle Sounders out of Marquette as a fourth-round pick in 2015. He spent two years with the club’s USL team, and got a championship ring when the Sounders won the MLS Cup in 2016. He spent 2017 with Orange County SC of the USL, then moved north to Los Angeles FC last year for the club’s inaugural season. LAFC gave him some playing time in a late-spring friendly against Borussia Dortmund.
MLS rules allow a team to sign a goalkeeper from an emergency pool if fewer than two rostered goalies are available to play. Lyon is the only goalkeeper in this year’s pool. He has a full-time contract with the league, and the Timbers volunteered to cover the costs of giving him a home base after having their own depth problems in recent years. They have ample room for him, with MLS, USL and NWSL teams in the same organization.
“I’ve been treated very well in Portland, and am really grateful for the opportunity they’ve given me to be there,” Lyon said. “They’ve got a good staff and good facilities, and they’ve helped me stay ready. I’m sure I’ll be ready to go if my number is called.”
Though Lyon has spent his professional career on the West Coast, this won’t be his first time at Talen Energy Stadium. In 2013, he helped Marquette win the Big East Tournament title game there.
“I’ve got fond memories of this stadium,” he said. “It will be a lot of fun to go back in there.”