COVID-19 protocols impact Philadelphia Union preparations for conference final; could keep players out for Sunday

Philadelphia Union coach Jim Curtin’s plans to prepare for one of the biggest games in the team’s history faced an unexpected snag Thursday with COVID-19 health and safety protocols forced to cancel training.

Now, two days before the Eastern Conference final kicks off against the New York City team at Subaru Park, it’s unclear how many players might not be on the team because of those protocols.

“I hope everyone can now respect the fact that I can’t speak for the health of some of the individual players,” Kerten said at a news conference with the media on Friday after it was revealed they are back in training. “I hope everyone can now respect the fact that I can’t speak for the health of some individual players. “We will prepare as best we can in the hope that everyone is available. The truth is that it’s very unlikely, but we’re trying our best to follow the protocols and prepare everyone as best we can for a really tough match.”

When asked about details of the league’s protocols and schedule, Curtin declined to give details and offered nothing on how many players on the squad could be affected.

“We live in unique times,” Curtin said. “I think we all understood that. We all had to find ways with our families to adapt to adapt to make the most of situations, and that is what we are going to do.”

Kirten said that despite the feelings surrounding the situation, he is confident his players will come out of adversity and find a way to progress on Sunday.

“You feel bad for some of the guys who put so much into the season,” said Kirten. “It hasn’t been decided whether or not they’re going to be a part of things in 90 minutes. So this part is tough, no doubt about it. But then again, I said that to the group, ‘That’s why you get paid to exercise, that’s the definition. Literally what it means to be a professional, to always be prepared.”

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