CHESTER, Pa. — Four games into his first season in MLS, Philadelphia Union Designated Player Marco Fabian has found himself off the field more than he has been on it, after being sent off with a straight red card in the 60th minute against Sporting Kansas City in Week 2.
Unable to do anything but watch as 18-year-old Brenden Aaronson took a star turn in his place with a goal in his MLS debut in a 1-1 draw in Atlanta, Fabian started last week out thinking he would be playing against Columbus Crew SC on the weekend, only to find out two days before the game of the Disciplinary Committee’s decision to hand him an additional one-game suspension.
“Twelve years in my career, I think it’s my third red card,” Fabian said, noting that it’s the first time he’s received a two-game suspension. “It’s a new experience for me.”
While it’s not the way any player wants to start a season, much less their first on a new team in a new league, Fabian was upbeat in training going into the week knowing he’d be back for Saturday’s game at FC Cincinnati (7:30 pm ET | Full TV and streaming info).
“I say that the last game, of course, is not the best start for me. But I am really calm because it’s the start of the season. I know what I can show you for the next few games; I feel good, I have confidence,” Fabian said.
He was loaned to the Union’s USL Championship affiliate Bethlehem Steel FC over the weekend, and dressed but didn’t play in their game Sunday night at Talen Energy Stadium.
“I could enjoy a little of the game and stay inside with the team,” Fabian said. “I know I’m a little old, maybe, right now but I can say a lot of things and they can learn a little bit from me.”
The Mexican international has 11 years on the teenager who replaced him as the No. 10 each of the last two games, but Aaronson played well enough to present head coach Jim Curtin with a tough decision: whether to insert both players into the starting lineup.
“Brenden and him obviously give us two guys on the ball that are very comfortable in tight spots,” Curtin said, “and maybe aren’t the biggest in stature and physical presence but play a little bit bigger, are brave in terms of getting out of tight spots, and can hopefully challenge their center backs to make tough decisions.”
Fabian said he has been impressed with what he has seen of Aaronson so far.
“I am really together with him, he’s a good [young player],” Fabian said. “He just needs to continue like this to training really hard to preparing for the next game, the next time.”
In addition to getting Fabian back, Cape Verde international midfielder Jamiro Monteiro is expected to have his international transfer certificate cleared in time to play on Saturday. The 25-year-old joined Philly earlier this month on a six-month loan from FC Metz.