Hackworth expects slightly modified roster due to suspension, recoveries
Jack McInerney is out.
Antoine Hoppenot and Bakary Soumare appear to be in.
Chandler Hoffman could be back.
That’s a major status update regarding the Philadelphia Union as they prepare to host the Chicago Fire Sunday night at PPL Park.
McInerney received a red card in last Saturday’s 2-0 loss at Montreal when he came to the defense of Antoine Hoppenot following a headbutt from Nelson Rivas in the 68th minute. As a result, McInerney won’t be available against the Fire.
On that play, Hoppenot injured his nose, though he didn’t realize how bad it was until returning to Philadelphia. It turned out to be a fracture of the nasal bone, but Hoppenot is expecting to play.
“I guess while shaking him off, he hit the ground pretty hard and that triggered something in his head that he needed to headbutt me,” Hoppenot said. “It came as a surprise to me. I didn’t expect it. It’s the first time anyone has done that on the field to me.”
Union interim manager John Hackworth believes that the rookie forward from Princeton will be able to perform against Chicago.
“The fracture Antoine has it not a typical broken nose,” Hackworth said. “It’s more on the side of his nose from what I understand from the medical staff. He was able to play (Wednesday), only with slight discomfort. He went through full training and we hope he’s fine. Our feeling right now is he’ll be OK.”
Meanwhile, the 6-foot-4 Soumare played a full 90 minutes in a Reserve League match at Montreal.
Adding Soumare on the backline would be a huge lift.
“You just want to get out there and start playing with your teammates,” Soumare said. “I’m excited. I’m looking forward to it. I’ve played different games and in different countries, and I’ve been excited, but this is one of the most exciting times in my career.”
Hoffman also played in the Reserve League match at Montreal and the rookie forward seems to be back from a broken toe suffered in June.
“Chandler looked good,” Hackworth said. “To get 90 minutes was important. He played well and he’ll be fighting to get in the 18 and possibly even the starting lineup with Jack McInerney being out.”
With McInerney out, there will be chances for this group of young strikers to make a difference in this match.
“Jack’s been so important to our run of form recently and not having him is a big loss,” Hackworth said. “He’s been in the lineup consistently and executed when we needed him to. His work ethic off the ball has been fantastic. We have to replace all those things, but it allows an opportunity for another young attacking player to get a shot and prove himself.”