Being a part of the Philadelphia Union’s group of goalkeepers has been an unstable position for the past two seasons, and it isn’t getting any safer.
Union coach Jim Curtin has announced that not only has Rais Mbolhi been removed as starting goalkeeper, but he’s been sent home to Algeria to “clear his head.”
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Additionally, former Rochester Rhinos goalkeeper John McCarthy will start in net on Saturday ahead of 2014 SuperDraft No. 1 pick Andre Blake, who is recovering from a knee injury and not match fit.
Philadelphia is oW-3L-2T to start this season, and faces New York City FC next.
“The things we can talk about publicly are performance-based, that’s why he’s not going to start,” Curtin said. “There are certain things that will be kept in house, in terms of transferring players. That’s going to stay inside.”
Curtin’s goalkeeping decision came after Mbolhi’s sloppy performance against Sporting Kansas City, in which he allowed three goals in an embarrassing nationally televised loss.
“He doesn’t seem like himself,” Curtin said. “He didn’t seem like the goalkeeper that was winning us games in the preseason, singlehandedly. I think the confidence was gone in him.”
Wow. The addition of Mbolhi was questioned from the get-go, as the 2014 World Cup hero was brought in despite the presence of Blake and Zac MacMath, the latter currently on loan to Colorado.
It’s a huge opportunity for McCarthy, the 2014 USL goalkeeper of the year, as a healthy Blake would likely get the call 9 times out of 10.
Is there a way back for Mbolhi? That likely depends more on the locker room than his on-field play, as he’s a talented keeper who should find his form somewhere. He’s had more than a couple howlers for Philadelphia, and one error cost them big time in last season’s failed stretch run.