Manager Jim Curtin confirmed to media at training today that he will sit goalkeeper Rais Mbolhi for Philadelphia’s upcoming home match against NYCFC on Saturday.
Mbolhi has been widely criticized for his play this season, having made a number of poor mistakes that have contributed to the Union’s winless start to the season. ESPN’s Jeff Carlisle said Mbolhi is “earning a rep for being one of the poorest DP signings in league history,” and the Algerian international has been ranked among the league’s worst goalkeepers to start the year, having allowed 9 goals on 20 shots, the lowest save percentage among MLS starters.
Most recently, the 28-year-old horribly misjudged a corner to allow Dom Dwyer to head home a goal in a 3-2 loss to Sporting KC.
Curtin has either 24-year-old Generation Adidas product Andre Blake or former USL Pro Goalkeeper of the Year John McCarthy at his disposal to step in for Mbolhi, with Blake having recently returned to training fresh off knee surgery during the offseason. The manager did not say who would be his starter at this point. It’s also unclear how long Mbolhi will sit, whether it will be just a game to collect his thoughts or if it could be a longer-term spell on the bench with the requirement that he earn his spot back.
Mbolhi shined during the World Cup with Algeria and largely earned himself a big contract on that performance. He came to the Union from a third spell at Bulgarian club CSKA Sofia.