So, it seemed that when Rais M’Bolhi was benched by Philadelphia Union Team Manager Jim Curtin, he would not be back with the team ever again. The Sons of Ben even went as far as to take the Algerian flag down from the River End. But, the saga of the Philadelphia Union goalkeepers took a rather unexpected turn this week when Rais reemerged in Philadelphia.
When he came back to Philadelphia after the sabbatical in France, many wondered what his role in the Union’s future would be, or rather if he would even have one. Those questions were answered this week, when a situation occurred in training that took out both of the other options for goalkeeper on the roster. Andre Blake (who was recovering from Left Meniscus Tear surgery) tore his right medial meniscus in training on Tuesday, and moments later John McCarthy suffered a concussion after a ball hit him in the head.
In response to the situation, both Head Coach Jim Curtin and Technical Director Chris Albright were not making blaringly positive statements about Rais’ chances to see the goal for the Union again. Then, it was announced on Friday that not only did the Union get NASL Carolina Railhawks Goalkeeper Brian Sylvestre on loan, but they have also acquired the services of MLS League Goalkeeper Trey Mitchell as backup. This would also mean that Rais is not with the team in Vancouver and still ranks as #3 on the depth chart.
Right now, they are operating on a week-by-week basis as far as the situation at Goalkeeper is concerned. It is the opinion of your humble correspondent that Trey Mitchell will only be around as long as the “emergency” situation is in play (until McCarthy passes MLS Concussion protocol). It is also the opinion of this writer that Brian Sylvestre has a better chance of staying longer on the roster, and depending on when they can get M’Bolhi gone, he might be the permanent third goalkeeper.
Sylvestre seemed like the obvious choice when the speculation began, because of his time with the Harrisburg City Islanders, as well as trialing with the Union prior to the season starting. Some will say that maybe M’Bolhi should have gone to Vancouver as backup, but it is highly probable that Curtin made it clear when he benched him for McCarthy that M’Bolhi would never see the field for the Philadelphia Union again. Considering the cost of his contract, some would say that M’Bolhi should be playing but if he is keeping them from winning, then the decision that was made was the right one. The only question now is “Did bringing in Meulensteen allow for Curtin to have more pull with the front office, and for Sakewicz to be kept out of the player dealings from now on?”