Vincent Nogueira’s tenure with the Union is over.

In a stunning development on Thursday, the Union and Nogueira mutually agreed to terminate the player’s contract.

The 28-year-old will return to France to be with his family and recover from an undisclosed personal health issue that is not life threatening.

“We want to thank Vincent for his contributions to the club,” Union sporting director Earnie Stewart said. “We wish him the best, both personally and professionally. At this time, it was our desire to enable him to be with his family at home in France.”

With three productive seasons acting as the Union’s engine in the midfield, the former Ligue 1 player, acquired in January of 2014, became one of MLS’ best kept secrets. He scored nine goals and played in 64 matches over his three seasons with the Union. He also manned the midfield in the Union’s 3-2 win over the Harrisburg City Islanders on Wednesday in U.S. Open Cup action (see game story).

 

“I want to thank Philadelphia Union for their understanding of my situation and wish my teammates well going forward,” Nogueira said.

The sudden loss puts the first-place Union in an unfavorable position. Nogueira, who was slotted to make $400,000 in 2016 — the fourth-highest salary on the team — was used as a box-to-box midfielder and the transition between defense to offense. However, health problems did follow Nogueira, as minor muscle ailments saw the Frenchman miss six matches in 2016 and 18 total matches since his arrival in March 2014.

With Maurice Edu still recovering from a leg fracture, the Union will likely tap Warren Creavalle to partner with defensive midfielder Brian Carroll in the short term, while shopping for an adequate replacement.