Rais Mbolhi, the Algerian goalkeeper who starred at the World Cup with several fine displays, has joined Major League Soccer side Philadelphia Union.
The 28-year old Mbolhi has been without a club since being let go by Bulgarian first division side CSKA Sofia at the end of the 2014 season and used his World Cup opportunity perfectly to get his name known to potential suitors.
Mbolhi was born in France and represented the nation's youth teams before making his debut for Algeria at the 2010 World Cup where he faced England and the United States in South Africa.
The Philadelphia Union already have two quality goalkeepers in their squad, and for a team that is sitting outside the playoff places in the Eastern Conference, one would assume that their focuses would lay elsewhere. But not in Philly.
Zac MacMath was the current starter for the Union, having performed well in all 21 of his sides games this season the 22-year old can feel a bit ticked off by his superiors moves to bring in a new first choice goalkeeper.
Futures in Doubt
The Union also held the number one pick in the MLS Superdraft and spent that on a goalkeeper. Andre Blake, a Jamaican international who boasts four national team appearances at the age of 23 was brought in in the off-season and was said to be the future of the franchise.
It will be interesting to see what the Union will do with this situation. The most likely scenario sees Blake going out on loan and MacMath riding the pine for the next few seasons. Teams will be interested in trading for the American keeper and the Union could find themselves netting a nice few assets in return for the former Maryland standout and number 5 overall draft pick.
“I’m personally very excited,” CEO Nick Sakiewicz said, “because now we have three of the best goalkeepers in Major League Soccer, in my opinion.” There's a problem in that logic though Nick. You can only play one at a time.
In all honesty this is a bit of a bone-headed move from Sakiewicz and co. They have two of the best young keepers in North America right now and neither will be playing. Instead, a man who had one good tournament and only played 17 times in the Bulgarian league is given the number one shirt and a heavy wage packet in a salary capped league. Some sound logic right there.