Marco Fabian on round No. 2 with Michael Bradley: "He's really good"

Marco Fabian – Philadelphia Union – Surveys field

CHESTER, Pa. – After tangling in the first game of his MLS career, Marco Fabian will again face an old rival from the international stage when the Eastern Conference-leading Philadelphia Union take on Toronto FC and midfielder Michael Bradley this Saturday (3 pm ET | TSN in Canada, MLS LIVE on ESPN+ in US).

The Mexican international locked horns with the US international during a season-opening match March 2 at Talen Energy Stadium that Toronto won, 3-1. Plenty of words were exchanged between the opposing midfielders.

Fabian chuckled when asked about Bradley after training earlier this week. 

“Everything is inside on the pitch,” Fabián said. “Outside we are professional players and he is a really good player.”

Fabian, 29, has experienced several stops and starts since becoming the highest paid player in Philadelphia’s MLS history when he arrived on a free transfer from Eintracht Frankfurt in February. Yet, his team has excelled in his absence, losing just twice since the TFC opener. 

Most notably, he was suspended an additional game after receiving a red card for stomping on Sporting Kansas City winger Johnny Russell. He’s also missed the last four games while recovering from an ankle injury. 

“I know my start of the season is a little complicated and I do everything,” Fabian said. “I got a red card, I don’t play for my injury, but also good things. I scored two goals. The most important thing is I feel good inside, everything is good with me. We have a long season. I come back and I trust me, I believe in me and I know what I need to do and show the fans who is Marco Fabian.”

Fabian has trained fully this week and said he feels 100 percent, but head coach Jim Curtin still isn’t sure how he’ll use him against Toronto, whether that’s in the starting lineup or off the bench. 

“It’s just two competitors,” Curtin said of the rivalry with Bradley. “Nobody wants to win more than Michael, nobody wants to win more than Marco, so they happen to play positions where they cross paths a lot in the game. If they get after each other there’s nothing personal about it.”

In Fabian’s absence, Curtin has relied on 18-year-old midfielder Brenden Aaronson and on-loan midfielder Jamiro Monteiro. Brazilian veteran Ilsinho has also provided a spark off the bench.

Aaronson left with a left hip injury in the first half of a 6-1 win over the New England Revolution last weekend, but the injury does not appear to be serious. Curtin said he expects to have him back in training before Saturday’s game. 

“This is really one team right now,” Fabián said. “Everyone has talent and there are really good players in the team.”