Sergio Santos is injured yet again, Union manager Jim Curtin announced Friday, and the striker is likely to miss Sunday’s home game against the worst team in MLS, FC Cincinnati (7:30 p.m., PHL17).
Santos missed two games with a quad injury suffered early in the Oct. 10 visit to Cincinnati. He returned to the bench last Saturday in the home win over Nashville, then got back on the field Wednesday in Toronto.
He scored a 77th-minute equalizer that saved a bad 2-2 tie from becoming an even worse 2-1 loss. But Curtin said Friday that at the end of the game, Santos “hurt his other quad … I don’t know how long or how serious it is, but it’s kind of the same difficult story — every time we get him going, we lose him.”
Curtin later gave the impression that Cory Burke might be back Sunday, noting that Burke “trained fully” on Friday after having missed eight games with an ankle injury.
“Hopefully he’ll be available to help us out,” Curtin said.
Ilsinho might also finally return after being out since late August with a hamstring injury. It would only be in a limited capacity, but the Union need all the attacking depth they can get right now — unless, of course, Curtin finally gives Matheus Davó another shot. But that seems unlikely.
“Matheus will continue to work hard,” Curtin said. “If he gets this chance, great, if he doesn’t, the loan comes to an end and we make a decision.”
It’s no secret that if Ilsinho gets on to the field at Subaru Park this weekend or in the playoffs, it might be his last time playing in front of the home crowd. Curtin didn’t want to talk about the 36-year-old winger’s future yet, but he knew the subject was unavoidable.
“He did train [Friday] in the first part of things — I don’t want to get the fans too excited, I think he’s still got some work to do to crack into the team,” Curtin said. “Certainly, I want to get him out on that field at Subaru Park so that the fans can give that ovation that he deserves. Discussions for next year, that’s kind of put on pause. But I would obviously want that for Ilsinho, to have another moment with the fans on our home field.”
Sunday’s game isn’t absolutely a must-win for the Union to clinch a playoff berth. But if they want a first-round home game — and if they want a second-round home game, too — they must make a statement against a team that’s been the league’s worst for three straight years.