CHESTER, PA– The Philadelphia Union have become used to receiving contributions from their rookie class in 2016.
Forward Fabian Herbers, who was one of three top-six selections in the 2016 MLS SuperDraft, delivered his first-career MLS strike in Wednesday’s 3-2 victory over the Columbus Crew at Talen Energy Stadium.
Herbers, who has entered as a substitute on 12 occasions this season, produced a wonderful bit of skill in the 84th minute to hand the Union a valuable two-goal advantage. The goal became even more important when the Crew scored in second-half stoppage time.
“I got a great pass from Ilsinho,” Herbers said. “It was a counterattack and he put me through very well. I cut it with my left, so the defender was gone. I could have played Ilsinho back or Tranquillo as well, but I’m a striker and I go for it. Luckily it went in the far corner.”
“We see it in training everyday,” manager Jim Curtin said. “He’s a kid that around the goal, is incredibly sharp. He has a knack for losing his center back and being in the right spot at the right time and composure. He cuts it to his strong foot and puts it in a pretty good spot. He has things I can’t teach and he’s special around the goal.”
The Creighton University product is one of three rookies making a sizable impact for the first-place side in the Eastern Conference.
Rookie defenders Josh Yaro and Keegan Rosenberry have been vital cogs in the back four over the first three months of the season.
“I’ve said it all year,” veteran midfielder Chris Pontius said. “These young guys don’t play like they’re rookies. They’ve stepped up so it’s good for Fabian to get that monkey off his back. I know he’s been wanting one and what a goal to announce himself curling it to the back post.”
The three young players are expected to be a vital part of the squad moving forward as the Union look to build on their spot atop the Eastern Conference table.
However, the Union will have to wait to extend their lead in the East until June 18, when they resume MLS play against New York City FC at Yankee Stadium.
“I think a lot of people need a little bit of break and for us I think we’ve done a good job with like a week and a half break or a week break of staying sharp and playing as a team,” Rosenberry said. “I think the biggest thing for us over this run of form is playing the same way.
“Jim talks about it a lot, home or away, trying to press and keep the ball. It’ll be a little more of a challenge with a couple weeks break, but that’s what we’ll talk about the whole time, trying to have that same mentality going into the 18th.”