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August 09, 2017

Union notes: No number ten, a bum right hand and the end of a season-long search

Soccer Union
080917_blake rudds Paul Rudderow/Philly Soccer Page

Andre Blake is unlikely to play on Saturday night with stitches yet to be removed from his right hand.

It looks like the search for a number ten will be put off until the winter.

Philadelphia Union Sporting Director Earnie Stewart confirmed on Wednesday, the final day of the MLS secondary transfer window, that the club will not be signing midfielder Nicolas Martinez from Olympiacos.

"He was here for a bit, for training, to get to know him and get to look at him," Stewart told reporters following training. "One thing I truly believe in is that you have to find out what the person is like, otherwise we're not going to just put people into the locker room that we have if you don't know them. That's a very important part of the chemistry that we have here. We had Nicolas over to look at that, but did not feel, for us, that it was the right fit."

That quote is very similar to what head coach Jim Curtin said of Elias Aguilar, the Costa Rica midfielder who trained with the team in a similar fashion. According to foreign reports, Aguilar did not sign because of a loan versus purchase issue, which Curtin disputed back on June 27th.

"He came in and had a good four days of training with the group," Curtin said at the time. "He was not a fit for the team. So, again, I've read reports that there were all of these financial discussions going on, (but) it's never even gotten to anything in terms of money, or financials, or loans, or buying. We took a look. A talented player, but at the same time was not a fit for us."

In the case of Martinez, poorly translated foreign reports also cite economic disagreement as the reason for a scuppered deal.

Wherever the truth may lie, the outcome is probably best for Union fans.

While there's no midseason reinforcement at the #10 position, the team is now poised to dump salary and make a bigger splash in January. Only in rare cases do late-summer signings provide an instant impact in Major League Soccer, and the Union probably aren't making a playoff run this season anyway.

What I'm trying to say is that Nicolas Lodeiro ain't walking through that door.

The best way to proceed is to finish the season, free up some cash, and go for a million-dollar playmaker (assuming ownership will cough up the dough).

Not quite ready

According to Curtin, Andre Blake is "not looking likely" for a Saturday start against Montreal.

The first-choice goalkeeper has been out of action since receiving a gash in his right hand in the Gold Cup final against the United States.

Blake was off to the side in training on Wednesday, with his right index and middle fingers taped together.

"It's healing," Blake said. "It's coming along nicely. The stitches aren't out just yet, but they should be out soon."

John McCarthy is in line to start his seventh straight game this weekend.

Elsewhere on the injury front, Fabian Herbers was also off to the side in training as he recovers from sports hernia surgery. Maurice Edu will not play with Bethlehem Steel this weekend.

A friend in need

Former Sons of Ben President Kenny Hanson is currently in the hospital after suffering a traumatic head injury in Folly Beach, South Carolina.

According to updates posted on a fundraiser page, he is currently dealing with an incredibly serious and fluid situation.

These are the two most recent bits of news, both from Tuesday night:

1. "The pressure on Kenny's brain was too high today and the doctors are having to remove the front and side of his skull to ease the damage from the swelling. He is in the (operating room) right now and we will give you an update as soon as we know more. Please keep him and his family in your thoughts."

2. "Kenny is out of surgery but his pressure levels are back up to dangerously high levels again. Doctors are bedside right now doing everything they can. Please keep him and his family in your thoughts and prayers."

As of writing, donors had contributed $10,034 to the fundraiser. If you'd like to get involved, please click on the link below.

Thinking ink

In lieu of a player acquisition, the Union did add a Chief Tattoo Officer to the ranks, wrapping up a lengthy process that started way back in February.

"Bonedaddys" of Aston will be the official tattoo provider for Union players.

An inaugural tattooing event will take place August 21st, where center back Richie Marquez, Union VP of Marketing Doug Vosik, and Sons of Ben founding member Corey Furlan will all be inked on site.

Union fans might be rolling their eyes at the timing of the "CTO" announcement, but sometimes you just have to let the marketing department do its thing. The initial public relations push resulted in widespread exposure to the Union brand, which is never a bad thing for a seven-year-old franchise.