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Union's search for goals hampered by Torres injury

Philadelphia's Roger Torres

Photo Credit: 
Getty Images

CHESTER, Pa. – With a nationally televised game against the Columbus Crew on tap this Saturday at PPL Park (3:30 pm ET, NBCSN), the Philadelphia Union are in dire need of some goals.

Unfortunately for Philly, they’ll have to find them without one of their most electric playmakers: attacking midfielder Roger Torres

The club announced Friday that Torres will miss 6-8 weeks after undergoing surgery on his left knee. The 20-year-old suffered an MCL sprain and minor meniscus damage during the Union’s Reserve League opener Monday.

“It doesn’t look good,” Union manager Peter Nowak said on Wednesday. “I saw the picture and his knee went completely inside, so I knew from the beginning there was something wrong. The MCL sprain is pretty bad and additional pieces were also affected.”

Torres has yet to emerge as a 90-minute player for the Union but has shown flashes of brilliance during his two-plus seasons. The young midfielder has logged three goals and nine assists in nearly 2,000 total minutes, and is actually the only Union player who has an assist to his name this season.

As a team, the Union (0-3-1) have only scored two goals through four games, which is one of the main reasons why they’re still looking for their first win.

The Crew, meanwhile, roll into PPL Park with a 2-2-0 mark, fresh off shutout victories over Montreal and Toronto followed by a 4-1 humbling by the Red Bulls last weekend.

“I would say the result against New York is not where we’re supposed to look,” Nowak said. “That’s a completely different game than how Columbus played against Montreal and especially against Toronto. They are very organized and they create chances.”

But even though Nowak excepts a stiff challenge from Columbus – a team the Union have only beaten once in four tries – he also expects a good effort from his own players following a draw against Vancouver two weeks ago and a much-needed weekend off.

“We’re moving forward,” the Union manager said. “I think the time we spent together is beneficial for us. The players are getting more confident. They’re more stabilized. Expect the same kind of mentality like we had against Vancouver in terms of fighting, challenging the balls, going after the other team and of course combining what we’ve learned over the past couple of weeks.”

Dave Zeitlin covers the Union for MLSsoccer.com. Email him at djzeitlin@gmail.com.

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