Player Signs with Union, Red-Carded Just Hours Later
Yesterday afternoon, the Philadelphia Union announced it had signed Ilsinho to a two-year contract using “Targeted Allocation Money” (I am not making this term up). The Union splashed the signing on their website and Twitter, dubbing him a “Brazilian international” as a way to hype him up even though he’s only played in one game for the national team, in 2007. (The Union played its first game in 2010.)
That’s quibbling, though. Ilsinho, a 30-year-old midfielder, used to play for Ukranian club Shakhtar Donetsk. He appeared in 19 games for Shakhtar in the UEFA Champions League, the league with the highest level of soccer in the world. He even scored a goal in the UEFA Champions League against heavyweights FC Barcelona. There was much reason to be excited about the signing.
“We’re extremely excited to land a player of Ilsinho’s caliber and that he chose Philadelphia over other options,” Union Sporting Director Earnie Stewart said in the release. “For a player with experience at the highest level in this sport, he came into our preseason camp with a tremendous work rate and that speaks to the type of person he is and who we want at our club. His elite-level attacking ability speaks for itself and we’re confident he’ll have an immediate impact.”
What an impact he had! The Union had a preseason game just hours after the team announced the signing. Ilsinho was kicked out of the game in the 44th minute after getting his second yellow card. Have your signing with the Union announced just before two, get kicked out of your first game with the team about six hours later.
Signs with the Union, then mauls a bunch of Red Bulls a few hours later. Welcome to Philly, Ilsinho.
— Dave Zeitlin (@DaveZeitlin) February 25, 2016
Of course, this is a team that saw captain Danny Califf get yellow carded less than a minute into its first-ever match. As CBS 3’s Kevin Kinkead notes, the Union also had Tranquilla Barnetta concede a game-changing penalty a minute into his first game (it was a bad call).
Despite going down to 10 men, the Union went to a scoreless draw against the New York Red Bulls. They are 2-2-2 in preseason, and have one more exhibition game on Saturday. The regular season starts March 6th, on the road at FC Dallas.
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