Union's Sapong going through concussion protocol

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C.J. Sapong (center) is going through concussion protocol.

Forward C.J. Sapong, the Union's third leading goal scorer, is going through concussion protocol and his status for Sunday's Major League Soccer regular-season finale with the visiting New York Red Bulls is uncertain.

Sapong was hurt late in Sunday's 2-0 loss to visiting Orlando City. Sapong has seven goals this season but hasn't scored in his last nine games.

"C.J. has a concussion that he is recovering from and is progressing quickly through the protocol," Union coach Jim Curtin said at his weekly news conference.

Curtin added that defender Josh Yaro was also progressing though the concussion protocol. He suffered his injury Oct. 1 against the Red Bulls.

Two players who didn't participate fully in practice on Wednesday were forward Chris Pontius, who has a team-high 12 goals, and midfielder Tranquillo Barnetta.

"Pontius had hamstring tightness, the same tightness that he felt last year before he had a serious injury with it," Curtin said. "He identified it in the game and we were a little proactive to get him off the field."

Pontius left the game in the 68th minute.

Curtin said Barnetta got through the technical and possession part of training and the staff thought it was best to hold him out after that. Barnetta has been bothered by swelling in his knee.

The Union are virtually assured a playoff berth, owning a plus-12 goal differential against New England in the second tiebreaker. The Union could finish either fifth or sixth in the East and either way would play an opening one-game playoff either Wednesday or Thursday on the road. Depending on Sunday's results, the Union could face Toronto, D.C. United or New York City FC.

On Monday, the Union had a team meeting after Sunday's loss to Orlando City. One of the people who spoke to the players at the meeting was midfielder Alejandro Bedoya, who as a member of the U.S. national team carries considerable clout.

"I was able to give a talk to the team Monday and let them know we're all in this together, this is the end of the season, guys are playing for their livelihoods, really," Bedoya said. ". . . This is a great opportunity we have in front of us now with the playoffs and trying to win an MLS Cup here in Philly."

mnarducci@phillynews.com

@sjnard

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