By DAN KARELL
Since arriving in Philadelphia, Brazilian midfielder Kleberson has been patiently awaiting his chance to make his Major League Soccer debut.
That chance may come as early as this Saturday, when the Philadelphia Union play host to Toronto FC.
Speaking at his weekly press conference, Union manager John Hackworth said that he thought about putting Kleberson in during the last match, but decided against it after Columbus equalized in the second half. This weekend though, the 33-year-old has the opportunity to debut in front of his home fans.
“It’s interesting because right now, we’re seriously deep at a lot of positions,” Hackworth said. “Kleberson’s doing a great job, and he’s a guy that we’re certainly thinking about this week.”
The former World Cup winning midfielder hasn’t played a first team match since February 6 in the Copa do Nordeste with Bahia.
Here are some more notes from the Union press conference:
FARFAN BACK IN TRAINING
Many outsiders might not have noticed it, but a different Farfan was slotted into midfield during last Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Columbus.
Michael Farfan was listed on the team’s injury report as questionable with an ankle sprain. He didn’t end up even making the trip to Ohio, but in his place Gabe Farfan started and played 78 minutes, before being replaced by Antoine Hoppenot.
Now, Michael is free of the injury bug, and has resumed full training with the rest of the squad, according to Hackworth. The only mainstay on the injury list is midfielder Matt Kassel, who continues to be listed as out with a right knee strain.
CALIFF VISITS FOR FIRST TIME SINCE TRADE
For the first time since his trade to Chivas USA in May 2012, Danny Califf will return to PPL Park to face the Union.
Now with Toronto FC, the 33-year-old defender faces his former club where he was the first ever captain in the team’s history. Hackworth said that he expects the fans to give him a good reception, but during the match the manager has to put any good feelings aside.
“Danny’s just a classy individual,” Hackworth said. “I think the fans here appreciated the way he handled himself as a pro and as a person, on and off the field.
“I’d like to say the same from our end, but he’s wearing the wrong jersey on Saturday, so I’ll wait until after the game.”
Califf made 68 appearances over two seasons and parts of a third in Philadelphia. So far this season, Califf has played in four of TFC’s five matches.