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A Philadelphia Union blog hosted by Christopher A. Vito and Matthew De George

Monday, February 13, 2017

Union training notes: Under the bubble, Feb. 13

Union defender Josh Yaro, right, is facing three to four months out
after surgery on his balky right shoulder. (File)
The Union took a brief hiatus in their Floridian preseason to return home and regroup before recamping in Clearwater for the final phase of the preseason. After three days off, the Union snuck in a session Monday morning under the Bubble at Penn Park’s Dunning-Cohen Champions Field ahead of a travel day Tuesday. A few takeaways:

- Mostly it was notable for the absences. Jay Simpson, Oguchi Onyewu, Eric Ayuk and Chris Pontius were among those not taking part in practice. Additionally, Maurice Edu (leg) was continuing his rehab with the medical staff in Chester, while Josh Yaro was in attendance, his right arm in a sling after shoulder surgery last week that will sideline him three to four months.

- Also with the team but back in Chester was new midfielder Haris Medunjanin, who took a physical Monday. Manager Jim Curtin said that the Bosnian could’ve trained, but it was wiser to wait for his first Union practice to be on grass in Clearwater rather than frigid Philly turf. Medunjanin was also getting a tour of the facilities for the first time, which Curtin said left him impressed compared to recent stays in Spain and Israel.

- One player on the turf was Brian Carroll, with whom the Union have been cautious given a history of plantar fasciitis, which is easily exacerbated on artificial surfaces. Carroll played as a neutral in 7-v-7 short-sided games, eschewing the running off to the side that others did.

- Of Yaro’s injury history, Curtin said that the second-year defender had a similar procedure to repair his left shoulder in the past. He dislocated the right shoulder during last season, and is hoping that last week’s procedure will strengthen it to prevent a recurrence. The club debated whether he needed the surgery in the offseason, but the recent re-dislocation during a practice drill made surgery seem a better bet for his long-term health. “It’s disappointing,” Curtin said. “Josh is a starter when he’s healthy. He’s established himself as such. A big loss, obviously a speed loss on the backline. And we’ll call upon guys to step up in his absence. Hopefully we get him back sooner rather than later.”

- Yaro’s injury leaves Onyewu and Ken Tribbett as the obvious contenders for minutes opposite Richie Marquez.

- Most of the rookies remained in camp, including Jack Elliott (as a center back) and Chris Nanco, who scored a nice goal.

- In addition to his international pedigree and national-team cap, Fafa Picault brings a famous friend to the table for the Union: Former wide receiver Chad Johnson (nee Ochocinco). The two met through soccer in Miami, Picault’s home, and have struck up a friendship. “We spend quite a bit of time together,” Picault said. “He’s a big soccer fan. He’ll probably come to one or two home games this year. He’s a big soccer fanatic. We play a lot of indoor soccer together, a lot of FIFA.”

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Anonymous Patrick Greer said...

That’s a good idea. I like it!

February 20, 2017 at 8:56 PM 

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