Rest assured…all is well with new Union net minder Rais Mbolhi.
Following practice Tuesday, Union interim manager Jim Curtin confirmed rumors that Mbolhi, 28, the club’s latest signing was involved in a minor car accident during a return trip to France to button up personal affairs.
The accident, was minor in nature and found Mbolhi suffering no injuries.
The two-time FIFA World Cup veteran is scheduled to board a flight to return to Philadelphia, where he will train for the first time alongside his Union teammates later this week. According the Curtin, there are no issues remaining with any of Mbolhi’s paperwork that includes a work visa and international transfer certificate (ITC).
“Seems like everything is okay with him and he’ll be in, we expect, by tomorrow (Wednesday),” said Union interim manager Jim Curtin. He’s on a flight now; [his initial flight] got rescheduled and missed because of a car accident. It's the kind of the news we got at 4:30 in the morning [from our team coordinator]. Unfortunate for [Rais], obviously safety is first and we’ll get him back as soon as he gets in. But he’s okay and there was no injury or anything like that.”
It’s unknown whether Mbolhi will get his Major League Soccer debut this Sunday when the Union return to PPL Park to take on the San Jose Earthquakes (8 p.m., purchase tickets) as Curtin mentioned that they want to be both cautious and methodically calculated with his first MLS start.
“We’ll see where Rais is at and we’ll talk with him – have a good honest talk,” said Curtin. “ If I had to guess from the last time when he came back and trained for four days, he was coming off of a pretty long layoff and he still kind of has been, He wants to be 100 percent before he goes out there and I as a coach can appreciate that. I will not speculate, but I’ll tell you that we’re preparing now as if Zac [MacMath] is going to start.”
Right now, both Union goalkeepers in camp are riding high with MacMath helping the Union capture its first trip ever to the U.S. Open Cup final while rookie goalkeeper Andre Blake is an MLS Save of the Week candidate following this acrobatic save to deny Houston's Will Bruin during the club’s primetime matchup last Friday.
Cristian Maidana: Feeling better
It’s a “wait and see” on midfielder Cristian Maidana, who again aggravated a hamstring injury and was forced to fly home following the team’s U.S. Open Cup semifinal victory. But after a minor procedure, Maidana has returned to training with his teammates and participated in full training Tuesday.
“The medical staff determined that he was not up to where they wanted him to be physically [following the Open Cup semifinal], so they sent him home,” said Curtin. He had a [platelet rich plasma] injection in the hamstring and that’s settled down now. He feels very good today. We have to be cautious with him because we know what it took to get him fully going and acclimated and fit and we don’t want to have any more setbacks.”
Curtin his hopeful that he’ll have Maidana back soon, which is a plus considering he is currently among the League leaders in assists with eight.
PPL “Park-ing” updates and practice stuff
Located on the Union website is a detailed rundown of the rearranged parking lot structure given construction for the club’s brand new practice facility is currently underway. Keep an eye on philadelphiaunion.com in the coming days ahead for a detailed feature on the practice facility complete with images and renderings of the finished product. If you have yet to read it, a good informational piece regarding the facility was featured on Philly Soccer Page last week.
Each week, we’ll send out a video of how construction is moving along as this project is scheduled to be completed in October. Here's the first:
The possibilities of the finished product are endless.
Contact Union digital editor Kerith Gabriel at email@example.com