Daily Doop: Carpooling for the captain, Mondi has World Cup hopes and Cruz in a conundrum

Thursday's installment of all things Union

So it’s been a little while – we shouldn’t have left you.

Actually, it’s been a day since our last installment of “The Daily Doop,” but we have a good excuse.

Yesterday, philadelphiaunion.com hopped in a car and drove up to Wednesday night’s match between Colombia-Brazil at MetLife Stadium. Our intention was to do this mega rollout piece with video on Union captain Carlos Valdes starting against one of the world’s best teams – so close to home.

Well, Colombia boss Jose Pekerman had other plans for us. Valdes didn’t play in a match that resulted in a 1-1 draw after Brazilian striker Neymar dropped the boat on a penalty kick.  

We still caught up with Valdes after the match, but only after waiting close to an hour postgame for the Colombians to emerge from the locker room. The joke among the media throing was that it takes forever for all the players to do their hair, and there was some truth to that considering every player came out perfectly coiffed.

Valdes seemed unfazed that he didn’t play, despite training all week at PPL Park in preparation for the match. While it was unfortunate, Valdes seemed finally happy to be officially on vacation, as he boarded a flight to Colombia this afternoon.

“It was a good game, especially playing against a team like Brazil,” Valdes said. “It’s always exciting and yes it was hard to not play, but I am happy my country played so well. Now [that the season is really over] we’ll see what happens whether I keep training or keep playing, we are trying to figure it out.”

What we gathered from that comment is Valdes has an itch and would like to keep playing this offseason. However while nothing has been confirmed, there could be possible interest from Colombian clubs for him to train or even join an organization during the offseason. As of now, philadelphiaunion.com has learned that Valdes has expressed desire to have a training stint, but no talks between clubs on either end has convened.

Moving on…

Another surprising player in Colombia’s locker room was former Union goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon, who took time out to catch up with us post match. Mondragon, who told this reporter during his time in Philadelphia that he was retiring from international competition, sung a different tune, Wednesday.

“The coach called me [Pekerman] and asked me to come in,” Mondragon said. “I am still a player and want to continue being a player.”

When asked how long he plans to stay with the national team, without hesitation the 42-year-old journeyman quipped:

“Until the [2014 FIFA] World Cup.”

We should also congratulate Union midfielder Gabriel Gomez for scoring against Spain in what was his 80th international appearance for Panama. Unfortunately, it arrived in a 5-1 rout at the hands of La Furia Roja in Panama City.

In other news…

Voting has begun for MLS end of the year awards and Michael Lahoud is up for MLS Humanitarian of the Year along with Sporting Kansas City’s Kei Kamara and former Union goalkeeper Chris Seitz, now with FC Dallas. Seitz, who gave bone marrow during the season is a winner in our book, but our own Lahoud ensuring families in Africa receive fresh water is massive, too.

You can check out the nominees in all 12 categories here.

Also, MLSSoccer.com writer Dave Zeitlin penned this report on Danny Cruz who watched his two former teams clash live from the sidelines in Houston. Cruz, who was acquired this past season from D.C. United, was drafted by the Houston Dynamo. Both are at war in MLS’ Eastern Conference championship.

Great quote from Danny:

“Less than 12 months ago, I was playing in an MLS Cup with the team in orange and three months ago, I was a big part of the D.C. United team. It’s kind of ironic [both teams are playing each other in the playoffs] and it’s not something I’m obviously enjoying, that’s for sure… [With that said, in Philadelphia] I think we’re just a few pieces away from really being a playoff team. We’re not far off. I really do believe that.”

Couple of announcements before we let you go…

Check out our "Behind the Crest" contest where a lucky fan will win a trip to preseason camp in Deltona, Fla., be our fan reporter, in addition to a chance to get the media experience by covering a Union regular season match in 2013…A big shout out to the Drexel Dragons, who represented Philly in the NCAA men’s soccer tournament Thursday, despite coming up short, 2-1 against Brown…Also, if you are in the Wayne-Devon area at around 8:00 a.m. on Saturday morning, come check out the latest hopefuls in the Union open tryouts at YSC Sports.

Catch you tomorrow for our weekend edition, until then we’ll be watching this goal from Zlatan Ibrahimovic 10,000 more times.

Contact Kerith Gabriel at kgabriel@philadelphiaunion.com. Follow Kerith on Twitter @sprtswtr.