One of Major League Soccer’s most intriguing newcomers may not get on the field this weekend but will apparently be available for Philadelphia.
Brazilian midfielder Jose Kleberson has arrived into Philadelphia on loan. He’s interesting on his own, a guy who is 33 now but still perhaps with the ability to an influence in MLS.
He won’t be the guy whose work rate and tenacity helped Luiz Felipe Scolari’s achieve the balance that brought Brazil its latest World Cup crown. But Kleberson (pictured) certainly qualifies as someone to watch. And he provides a wonderful counterweight to all the promising, young talent Hackworth has help gather around PPL Park.
Kleberson is already interesting because his arrival was part of the deal that finally allowed Hackworth’s Union to shed the Freddy Adu anchor that was dragging down the club’s salary cap situation.
Remember, Kleberson is just a one-year loan, which makes it a relatively low-risk proposition. Adu, on the other hand, is property of Brazilian club Bahia.
What Hackworth told MLS Extra Time on Thursday when asked what Kleberson gives his team that perhaps Adu did not?
He still has amazing ability as a soccer player. He is towards the latter part of his career, but he can still play, and that is first and foremost. … We felt like we needed somebody in midfield specifically different from Freddy, somebody who was more of a two-way midfielder.
Hackworth wants to take a closer look in training but says he believes the Brazilian veteran can play as an attacking midfielder, a holding mid or even along the flanks.
The Union travels to New Jersey Saturday to face the New York Red Bulls (3:30 p.m. ET on the NBC Sports Network). New York may be missing is top two forwards, Thierry Henry and Fabian Espindola, both of whom are hobbled by injury.