The Philadelphia Union have signed Algerian international goalkeeper Rais Mbolhi after his stunning performances at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Mbolhi, 28, arrives from Bulgarian outfit CSKA Sofia and is expected to be Philly’s new number one as young American ‘keeper Zac MacMath seems likely to be traded away.
At the World Cup Mbolhi almost led the Desert Foxes to a shock defeat of eventual champions Germany at the Round of 16 stage as the ‘keeper made 11 saves and was awarded man of the match in Die Mannschaft’s narrow 2-1 extra time win. Fans of the U.S. will also remember Mbolhi from the 2010 World Cup as he was in goal for Algeria when Landon Donovan scored the dramatic last-gasp winner which sent the USA through to the last 16. That was the only goal Mbolhi conceded in two appearances during the 2010 WC.
It is rumored that Mbolhi has arrived on a three-year deal which in turn is likely to see either MacMath or last year’s No. 1 overall draft pick, Andre Blake, traded away.
The Union losing MacMath is more likely but it does seem strange given the fact that the 22-year-old is currently enjoying the best season of his professional career. With the Union needing reinforcements in defense and MacMath’s talents valuable to a number of clubs looking for a new ‘keeper across the league, Philadelphia may wheel and deal expertly here.
Right off the bat Toronto, Houston, New England, Montreal and Portland all seem like clubs who would be willing to snap up MacMath in a trade. Let’s see how this one pans out as interim head coach Jim Curtain and CEO Nick Sakiewicz continue to overhaul Philadelphia’s roster following John Hackworth’s departure earlier this summer.