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MLS Ticker: Union drop M’Bohli again; Crew to play Valencia in friendly; and more

Rais Mbolhi Philadelphia Union 24

Photo by USA Today Sports Images


Goalkeeper Rais Mbolhi may have returned to Philadelphia Union training, but he won’t be lining up in goal this weekend.

The Union announced on Friday that they have brought in two goalkeepers that will play ahead of Mbolhi in this weekend’s game against the Vancouver Whitecaps. Brian Sylvestre has been brought in on a short-term loan deal from the NASL’s Carolina RailHawks, while MLS pool goalkeeper Trey Mitchell will also travel to Vancouver as cover.

Mbolhi returned to training this week after about a month away from the club. Around the same time, fellow goalkeepers John McCarthy and Andre Blake picked up injuries, and that left the Union with a decision to make.

“We have evaluated all of our options and feel that Brian [Sylvestre] gives us the best opportunity to get a result in Vancouver,” Union technical director Chris Albright said. “We have confidence in the familiarity he has with both our players and staff.

“Rais remains a member of the Philadelphia Union and we will continue to evaluate all options in the best interest of the club.”

Sylvestre spent the preseason with the Union, but later joined the RailHawks. The 22-year-old also played for the Whitecaps reserves in June of 2011, and his professional debut came last year against the Union in the U.S. Open Cup when he played for Harrisburg City Islanders.

Here are some more MLS news and notes:


The Columbus Crew will face Spanish opposition in a friendly for the first time when Valencia visits MAPFRE Stadium.

Currently sitting fourth in the Primera Division table, Valencia will have one last outing before summer break against the Crew on May 27. The match is part of this year’s LFP World Challenge, which has Spanish clubs also traveling to places like Morocco and Australia.

“We are looking forward to competing against one of the top teams in Spain at MAPFRE Stadium,” Crew head coach Gregg Berhalter said in a club release. “Valencia is an exciting team with a lot of young, talented players and it’s going to be a great test for our group. I also have a personal connection to the club after visiting the club last year. I was impressed by the warmth and professionalism of the people.”

Valencia is six-times winner of the La Liga title, having last won the trophy in the 2003-04 season. The club also finished runner-up in the UEFA Champions League twice.


Orlando City will be represented at this year’s Under-20 World Cup in New Zealand, though another member of its squad missed out.

Midfielder Estrela was named to Helio Sousa’s 21-man Portugal squad to take part in the tournament. The 19-year-old Benfica product was brought into the Orlando City set up at the end of its final USL season last year, though he has not made an MLS appearance so far this season.

Also brought into the club at the same time was defender Rafael Ramos, but he missed the cut to make the World Cup that begins later this month. Ramos, 20 and also from Benfica, has started six games for Orlando this season.

The club may yet have a second player at the tournament, since Conor Donovan was named an alternate to the U.S. Under-20 squad.


  1. How can they use a pool GK – M’Bohli (not sure exact spelling – it’s inconsistent in the post) is not hurt, just out of favor?

      • It’s a long story, but involves the CEO (Nick Sakiewicz previously president of Tampa Bay Mutiny & NY/NJ Metrostars – ruining both) thinking he’s good at roster management. Especially when it comes to keepers – he was a pro keeper (2 appearances).

        Add that to a carousel of coaches, the leagues smallest front office and an ownership group with no money, and it’s a recipe for disaster – but I digress.

        Sak has wanted an upgrade over MacMath for years, but Zack keeps on beating out whomever they bring in. So they begin last year they by in Blake (Jamaican National Team) from the draft -using MacMath’s agent- and attempting to bring in M’Boli at the beginning of the year. M’Boli couldn’t get out of his contract and didn’t make the team until the end of the year. Zack (again) beat out Blake for the starting spot.

        By the end of the year the FO had pretty much burned up all bridges with MacMath and sent him off this year to Colorado after they couldn’t get a decent price for him (when everybody knows you’re desperate to sell someone it tends to lower the market value).

        At this point, even though Union still owns him, I wouldn’t ask Zack to come back. Until we get an overhaul in the FO, the Union don’t deserve him.

      • Thanks for the backstory. Would love more info on Rais. Great example of how talent does not matter when your teammates are not behind you. Or so I think. I cannot find any real support for this, but I do believe he has the potential to be excellent, as with Algeria. But, to paraphrase an aphorism, belief is not a strategy…

      • I had forgotten that Sakiewicz was the CEO of the Union. It all makes perfect sense. He’s left a trail of disaster wherever he’s been. He must be good at selling BS to keep getting hired.

      • It’s even worse than that- Sakiewicz is part owner, and is somehow even more arrogant than ever despite 20 consecutive years of MLS failure. I’ve pulled a few quotes from him in a Philly Soccer Page interview regarding fans wanting him out before the 2014 season:

        ““The idea of people saying I’d be fired like (former D.C. United chief executive) Kevin Payne was fired is comical,” Sakiewicz told me Tuesday.

        Why is it comical? Because he was there at the beginning, when Keystone Sports and Entertainment Group, the corporation that serves as the Union’s investment team, was just an idea.

        “I had started Keystone on my American Express card,” Sakiewicz said.

        “I brought in all these guys,” Sakiewicz said. “The last thing in the world that’s going to happen is Nick Sakiewicz getting fired like Kevin Payne in D.C.””

        We’re apparently stuck with the guy. At this point I’m hoping for a Chivas-style buyout and a Union restart.

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