Ouch. I feel bad for Rais M’Bolhi.
The new signing was caught in the crossfire as Jim Curtin and Nick Sakiewicz dodged questions about having three starting caliber keepers on the team. At one point, Nick even forgot Rais’s age. The Union F.O. probably should have just issued a press release rather than put on this whole awkward, tense affair.
Let’s look at some interesting tidbits about our new keeper:
- The iconic USMNT goal Landon scored against Algeria in 2010 was the only goal Rais gave up that tournament.
- Rais actually fasted during the first half of the Germany game. He kept a back of snacks near his goal to eat during halftime once the sun set.
- He speaks English, something I wasn’t expecting from a French player. Speaking the two main team languages (English and French) should help him integrate faster.
- According to Rais, he is good friends with Sporting Kansas City’s Aurelien Collin.
- He once threw a ball at an opponent’s head after the player tried kicking it out of his hands. Talk about “Philly Tough.”
- Rais will be wearing the same number as late great Eagle Reggie White (#92).
These two tweets from Taylor Twellman seem to fit the logic of Rais’s signing:
While we are most likely paying Rais a significant amount more than Zac, the difference will become fairly small after the new agreement. Rais seems to be a move made with a raised salary cap in mind.
Worth noting: We drafted Zac in 2011. I’d assume his contract is up soon, and he has earned a significant raise. After that contract, the financial difference between the two players will be much smaller.
The fact that Zac has not been moved yet is troubling. The optimists will tell you that Jim and Nick were intentionally being vague as there is still a deal in the works. The pessimists will tell you there is no plan, and we just killed any trade value Zac had. Both are just speculation at this point, so pick whatever makes the most sense to you. The only certainty at the moment is that Zac’s days in Chester are numbered.
I really wouldn’t start Zac on Friday. It just seems like an awkward situation all around.
Rais was impressed by the facilities here? Chester Park? C’mon, bro.
Taking a step-back, we signed a two-time World Cup veteran who has done very well in both tournaments. He is a significant improvement over the current player we have at the position. Unfortunately, the position is at keeper, the one position you don’t rotate.
I still think this move cannot be judged until we see what we inevitably receive for Zac. If we acquire a veteran in defense or a high draft pick, I think more fans will be happy with this deal. Our good friend allocation money would be useful, but I think fans want to see something more tangible than Garber Bucks. Until Zac is sold, I think it is too early to judge this trade.
Enough about my thoughts. Tell me what you think. How do you rate this signing, and what the hell do we do with Blake?