The Rais M'Bolhi era at the Philadelphia Union may have just come to a close almost as quickly as it began and to about as much denigration.
The Algerian international goalkeeper has been dropped completely by Union head coach Jim Curtin after a string of poor performances that see him ranked dead last in just about every meaningful goalkeeping statistic in Major League Soccer.
Bye Bye M'Bolhi
In fact, things are looking so bad for M'Bolhi that he has not even been dropped to the bench, the 28-year old has been dropped from the squad altogether and told to go home for an extended period.
“Rais Mbolhi will not be playing in goal,” Curtin said at a press conference yesterday. “John McCarthy will be our starter and Andre Blake will back him up. It was my decision and it was based on performance. It’s what I think is best for Rais and the Philadelphia Union moving forward.”
M'Bolhi has been playing so badly as of late that the Union will be replacing him with a youngster that has never featured in a single minute of MLS action, John McCarthy. McCarthy went undrafted out of college and signed for the Rochester Rhinos in USL, where he starred and was named USL PRO Goalkeeper of the Year and USL PRO Rookie of the Year for his notable 2014 season.
Curtin refused to deny that the Union were trying to now cut their losses and sell M'Bolhi.
“There are certain things that will be kept in house, in terms of transferring players. That’s going to stay inside.”
The signing of M'Bolhi has been a saga from the very beginning. Fans were furious and sceptical when it was announced that the Union would be signing M'Bolhi after his World Cup performances. M'Bolhi did well in the tournament in Brazil but the Union already had two very good goalkeepers in place in Zac MacMath and Andre Blake.
MacMath was drafted with the 5th overall pick in the 2011 and had been the Union's starting goalkeeper pretty much ever since, making 103 appearances in four years and proving himself as one of the best young keepers in MLS. The Union selected Blake with the 1st overall pick in the 2014 draft and is a tremendous talent, but when the M'Bolhi signing was announced Union fans were furious as it seemed the team had wasted the pick, using it on player who would now be the third choice keeper.
Worst MLS Signing Ever?
So, after just nine games in a Union uniform it looks like M'Bolhi is on his way out of Philadelphia. And when adding to this the fact that they spent $400,000 on a transfer fee and near Designated Player level wages of $280,000 on him, Rais M'Bolhi surely enters the conversation for the worst signing in MLS history.
M'Bolhi conceded nine times in his five appearances in the 2015 season, ranked dead last. He was 23rd out of 25 in save percentage and made a grand total of zero saving catches, which is also good enough for last place in MLS.
Former Barcelona defender Rafa Marquez tops the tree as probably the worst designated player signing in history as he managed to the exact opposite of what David Beckham did by actually dragging the New York Red Bulls down rather than lift them. When combined with the fact that he was on nearly $5million a year, it would take a lot to knock Marquez off the top spot.
But if M'Bolhi never plays again in Philadelphia, he would definitely sit in the tier below alongside the likes of Denilson, Freddie Ljungberg, Nery Castillo, Mista and Luis Angel Landin.