The Philadelphia Union have revealed that goalkeeper Rais Mbolhi has been welcomed back to the club and is training with the first team nearly a month after being sent away.
Manager Jim Curtin confirmed back on April 8 that Mbolhi was benched following a disastrous start to the season, and just a day later it was revealed that the 29-year-old would take time away from the club to “clear his head.” Transfer rumors understandably flew at the time, but now, for the time being, he’s back with the club in training.
The Union picked up just two points in five matches to start the season with Mbohli in net, including a number of matches highlighted by egregious goalkeeping errors. Since his benching, 22-year-old John McCarthy has stepped in, and the club has picked up four points on a win and a draw in four matches. They are currently in the midst of another three-match losing streak.
Many had considered Mbolhi’s departure to be a turning of a corner, a step in the right direction for a club beginning the season in free-fall and clearly in turmoil. It was thought the parting of ways would be more permanent. Reaction to the recent news of his return has been…not entirely positive.
Just because Mbohli has returned to training doesn’t mean he’ll start again, or even that he’ll return to the matchday squad. However, it does indicate the club doesn’t feel required to sell him immediately. Philadelphia’s next match is a cross-continent visit to Vancouver this weekend, followed by a home match against Eastern Conference co-leaders DC United the following weekend.