The Union delivered another impressive win Saturday, beating the Montreal Impact 3-0 at Talen Energy Stadium. But the triumph was marred by star goalkeeper Andre Blake suffering a groin injury while taking a goal kick in the 51st minute.
Jim Curtin didn’t have many details during his postgame press conference, but Blake seemed to be in a lot of pain when the play happened. The TV broadcast caught the moment when Blake pulled up and let out an anguished scream.
“It seems like it wasn’t a bad one in terms of, like, his plant foot giving out or anything like that," Curtin said. "It will probably be some time — I don’t want to speculate and put a timeline. It’s not likely that it’s going to be in time for [next Saturday’s game at] Vancouver, I would guess.”
Carlos Miguel Coronel would be next in line to start for the Union (4-3-1, 13 points), followed by Matt Freese, a 20-year-old academy product in his first year as a pro.
Freese was the backup Saturday, and stepped in when Blake went out. The Wayne native admitted to having a few butterflies in his stomach.
“My heart was racing … In your head, you’re up 2-0, but that just presents the opportunity to mess up,” he said. “I just tried to squash anything like that, and tried to take it easy.”
He succeeded at that, helped by his teammates’ holding the Impact (3-3-2, 11 points) without a shot on goal during his time on the field.
The rest of the game was full of positives. Despite missing Marco Fabián to an ankle injury, Auston Trusty to a red card suspension, and Mark McKenzie with a case of appendicitis that required surgery late Friday night, the Union were the better team from start to finish.
Cory Burke got things started with a 22-yard rip in the 14th minute, Jamiro Monteiro doubled the lead from the penalty spot in the 45th, and Alejandro Bedoya finished off a backheeled setup pass from Burke in the 57th.
The Union saw the game out from there without much trouble. Kacper Przybylko made his debut along the way, replacing Burke in the 83rd.
The only negative came in the 89th minute, when Kai Wagner slid studs-up into Montreal’s Mathieu Choinière and was sent off. Wagner initially drew just a yellow card, but the video replay booth rightly deemed the play worth a red.
“Silly. Really silly,” Curtin said of Wagner’s judgment. “We’ll be without a left back who’s been, for my money, the top left back in the league … Kai has to do better and be smarter there.”
Matt Real and Olivier Mbaizo are the candidates to replace Wagner in the line lineup next weekend.