CARSON, Calif. — The Philadelphia Union's plan to disrupt the streaking LA Galaxy had much to do with Mexican attacker Marco Fabian showing up in unexpected places on the field. His departure, after 23 minutes with an ankle injury, thwarted that.
Fabian, a linchpin in the Union's strong start to the season, was hurt attempting a long-range shot with LA goalkeeper David Bingham well off his line in the 17th minute of Saturday's clash at Dignity Health Sports Park. Philadelphia head coach Jim Curtin believes — hopes — it's not serious.
“The goalkeeper was out, and he tried to shoot, he said his plant foot gave out on him and rolled a little bit,” Curtin reported following the Galaxy's 2-0 triumph. “I don't think it's too significant — I'm hoping it's not too significant — but, obviously, you want all your big players in big games like this.
“He was devastated to miss out on this one, but, hopefully, it's a quick healing process, but we'll get a test, I'm sure, soon.”
Fabian, acquired in February from Eintracht Frankfurt, played a pivotal role in the Union's strong start, scoring twice in his first four games — including the opener in a 2-0 triumph two weeks ago at FC Cincinnati — and lifting the team's level of play with his skill and vision.
He'd played primarily in midfield for Curtin, who tweaked his lineup Saturday, positioning Fabian as a second forward below Cory Burke. It might have caused the Galaxy some problems, but that aim was gone when he went down.
“[The injury] messed with [our game plan] a lot, because we had a unique formation out there that maybe the Galaxy wasn't anticipating, with him playing as a second striker underneath,” Curtin said. “He was kind of a key guy we wanted to put on the ball a lot, on the left-hand side and have him drift over there.”
Fabian went down when his left ankle rolled, came off the field, then gave it another go before exiting for good in the 23rd minute in favor of Fafa Picault.
“He thought he could continue, but sometimes it feels stable, and then once you make your first sprint or your first change of direction, it felt wrong,” Curtin said. “You could see him trying. He came to the sidelines, got it taped, maybe he thought he could get away with that, but it just wasn't meant to be tonight.”
The Galaxy were the better team in the first half — “they played at a tempo faster than we've seen this season,” Curtin noted and took command shortly after Fabian left the field. Zlatan Ibrahimovic headed home a short cross from Jorgen Skjelvik four minutes later to give LA the lead, then won a penalty kick five minutes later and, after Video Review, buried it for a 2-0 edge.
The Union (3-3-1) are home next Saturday against Montreal. Curtin would like to see Fabian in the lineup.
“I hope he doesn't miss any time, because he's an important player for us,” he said. “We'll see how it responds. I'm sure it's swollen right now. [We'll see] how it feels in the morning and then get some tests on it.”