CHESTER, Pa. — It only took 17 minutes for Marco Fabian to make an impact for the Philadelphia Union in Sunday’s Eastern Conference playoff match against the New York Red Bulls. The 105th minute will be the one that both he and the team cherishes going forward.
Fabian scored the game-winning goal for the Union to hand them a 4-3 victory over their rivals at Talen Energy Stadium. It was the first playoff win for the Union in their 10-year history and one that sees them advance to the semifinals of the MLS Cup playoffs.
“I know this season has been tough for him and what he’s had to go through, but when he scored that goal I went up and told him that is how you make a difference,” Union captain Alejandro Bedoya said. “He showed that he still has it in him to produce.”
Fabian came off the bench as the Union’s third substitution and needed only two minutes to score his eighth goal of the season. His right-footed shot from the left wing deflected off of Red Bulls midfielder Marc Rzatkowski and beat Luis Robles to the corner of the goal. Ultimately, it stood as the winning goal and a huge confidence booster for the Mexican playmaker going forward.
Since a two-goal performance at D.C. United back on Aug. 4th, Fabian has struggled for points and consistent playing time. He went seven matches without a goal or assist for the Union until Decision Day, when he scored in a 2-1 home loss to eventual East winners NYCFC. Sunday saw limited playing time once again, but he silenced his critics and came up with one of the biggest goals in club history.
“If people want to criticize Marco, they’re wrong,” Curtin said. “People should criticize me for not putting him into the starting lineup or in the game sooner. When he was called upon, he delivered. He’s a professional and outside of soccer, he’s a guy I like a lot. He is a great person, he’s great in the locker room, he’s got a lot of friends here. He just wants the club to win.”
“If people want to point the finger then point it at me. He’s a player that just wants to be on the field and at this time I decided to use Brenden [Aaronson] over him. It’s not personal, but at the same time he’s a guy who has scored a very big goal for the club. We’re going to need him against Atlanta and then possibly against Toronto or NYCFC.”
Now as they prepare for a visit to the defending MLS Cup champs on Thursday, Curtin will have a huge decision to make in regards of what to do with Fabian. Fabian will likely battle with Brenden Aaronson for the start in midfield next to Jamiro Monteiro at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
After scoring the winning goal on Sunday, Fabian may be inserted into the starting lineup, but he also may be saved for substitute duty if the Union need him for a late goal once again. One thing that is for sure though, is his teammates continue to believe in him regardless of his role on gameday.
“Marco is an amazing player and he was awesome tonight for us,” Picault said. “People around the world know he is a talented guy and can make a difference. I’m sure it’s frustrating for him this season, but for him to get that winning goal is awesome.”
Curtin holding himself accountable for his own decisions. Whoa! Interesting to me, he’s aware of criticism. Looks to me, this year’s playoffs will be more exciting than previous ones. ‘15-‘18 to be exact.