Car accident delays Mbolhi's return to Philadelphia Union
The Philadelphia Union goalkeeping situation took another unusual turn on Monday morning, when interim manager Jim Curtin revealed that Rais Mbolhi had been involved in a car accident in Paris, France.
Philadelphia's summer signing was due back in training this week.
The Algeria international and World Cup veteran was signed on July 30th, but he was forced to return to Europe to resolve paperwork issues related to his stateside move.
"Unfortunately, he was supposed to fly in (Monday) morning, but he got into a car accident," Curtin said following the training session. "It seems like everything's okay with him, but he'll be in, we expect, by (Tuesday). He's on a flight now that got rescheduled. He missed his flight because of the accident. That's the news we got at 4:30 in the morning that was relayed to me. It's unfortunate for him. Obviously safety is first and we'll get him back as soon as he (arrives in Philadelphia)."
Curtin stressed that Mbolhi was not injured in the accident.
Additionally, the paperwork issue that kept him out of action has been taken care of.
"That's actually cleared," Curtin said. "He's got his passport in hand. There was a mix-up previously, but that was resolved and now everything is a go."
Curtin didn't want to speculate on Mbolhi's readiness ahead of Sunday night's home game against San Jose. Prior to the paperwork complications, the goalkeeper had been working to get into game shape after a multi-week layoff following the World Cup.
Zac MacMath, now the number two stopper on the depth chart, was between the posts for Philadelphia's 2-1 home win against Montreal. He then turned aside two Dallas penalty kicks in Tuesday night's shootout triumph in the semifinals of the U.S. Open Cup.
"We'll see where Rais is at, and we'll have a good honest talk," Curtin added. "If I had to guess, last time when he came back and trained for four days, he was coming off of a pretty long layoff, and that sort of (continued) now that he had to go back (to Europe) and the unfortunate setback that presented. He wants to be 100% before he goes out there. I don't want to speculate, but we're preparing Zac as though he's going to start."
Number one overall draft pick Andre Blake is now the Union's third-choice goalkeeper. He was given his MLS debut on Friday night in Houston, which was the third game in a difficult seven game stretch.
Curtin said he handed Blake a start because it was the "product of him playing well" in training. The decision didn't have anything to do with MacMath's prior performances, which had been solid.
"Zac has been good over the last stretch, but it was a moment where I thought I could get Andre a game," said Curtin. "It might be the only chance that we have for it. So, to be honest, that's the reason why we went with it. I thought Andre played well. He gained a lot of valuable lessons and experience. Some of the little things, like when to come off the line, when to hold, I think he got to see that, and in a tough spot, too, in Houston. We have confidence in him."