Daniel Robertson is SB Nation's FC Dallas blogger at BigDSoccer.com. He's an ardent follower of Bundesliga action which gave him the ability to watch Faryd Mondragón play for FC Koln prior to his demotion to their back up goalkeeper. The Brotherly Game sat down with Robertson and discussed Mondragón's goalkeeping merits and a little bit of Amobi Okugo.
Scott Kessler: Who is his closest comparison in the world of goalkeeping?
Daniel Robertson: Well honestly, I think a good comparison to him is Dario Sala on steroids. Similar to Sala in play and demeanor but he's bigger, stronger and better overall. Very good shot stopper, very passionate and very lively. Absolutely takes command of his penalty area. At some point he will probably knock someone out coming for a cross at some point in the season
Scott Kessler: Can he do a scorpion kick? Rene Higuita did it at his own testimonial match last year.
Daniel Robertson: [Haha] Probably not at this age, but I think the fans will love him.
Scott Kessler: On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being Iker Casillas and 1 being my younger brother in goal, how would you rate his reaction time, agility/quickness, handling of crosses, kicking ability and awareness/confidence?
Daniel Robertson: Well I haven't watched him THAT closely to be able to rate like that but I can say in the ten or so games of Cologne I've seen, Mondragón is decisive and strong with good shot blocking abilities. He can suffer on coming quickly off his line, but commands the penalty box very well. The way to beat Mondragón is definitely on the ground because he'll get most crosses.
Scott Kessler: I honestly just wanted to insult my brother when I had the chance.
Scott Kessler: How much do you think he's worth as a GK in the MLS?
Daniel Robertson: Ehh...he'll be good for a couple of years, no doubt but is he $250k better than a Jon Busch? Doubtful. Remember Colorado just won the championship with Matt Pickens in goal, a keeper who most would probably put around the middle of the pack.
You know Philly better than I do though... if they need some leadership he'll provide it. It's going to be exciting to watch him. Mondragón will quickly become a Philly fan favorite. He's a nutjob and when he's angry he has a look about him like he will absolutely murder someone
I'm not sure he'll be a DP.
Scott Kessler: All rumors are pointing to him being a DP. Reports from reputable sources, as well.
Daniel Robertson: You think Angel goes to Union? I guess unlikely if Mondragón is as a DP.
Scott Kessler: Here's the thought process on Mondragón: While old, he fulfills a role on the Union that is needed (per Nowak and supporters). He's starter quality in a top European league - Bundesliga - and thus is 'automatically' one of the best goalkeepers in the MLS upon signing with the Union. He makes much more than $335k (league maximum) or $350k (DP minimum) right now and could stay in Europe if he really wanted to for a lot more money.
As for Juan Pablo Angel, Mondragón is his child's godfather so there's plenty of speculation that the Union will take him in tomorrow's second round of the Re-Entry Draft.
Daniel Robertson: Exactly. It's a little risky though. I've seen firsthand this season how big of a deal communication is between goalie and defense. Hartman is the master at it and Mondragón doesn't speak English. Scott Kessler: Only one player on the Union defense speaks Spanish, fullback-turned-starting-center back Michael Orozco-Fiscal. [Editor's note: Mondragón speaks English, Robertson and I were mistaken]
Daniel Robertson: That's the problem. Foreign goalkeepers generally haven't played well in MLS, so that could be a possible problem. But I like the move just because I like MLS teams taking chances on interesting players. There are enough dull players in the league.
Scott Kessler: There are but if the Union wanted interesting they could sign Fat Ronaldo and Adriano. 0.62 GAA for Hartman this season, best in the history of the MLS. I expect a 0.31 out of Mondragón if he gets DP/two times as much money as the next GK.
Daniel Robertson: It's also so much about the people in front of him
Scott Kessler: It is but still; he's going to be paid a ton, so I expect him to make up for the difference in defenses.
Daniel Robertson: Just gotta find the right combination and a defensive midfielder.
Scott Kessler: Brian Carroll and Amobi Okugo (possibly).
Daniel Robertson: Yeah, Okugo is the one. Saw him here with Dallas Cup last year - fantastic player.
Scott Kessler: He apparently was the leader of the GA team in Spain
Daniel Robertson: He's definitely one to watch but probably a couple years away from starting full time.
A big thank you to Daniel, who took time out of his busy schedule to provide some needed insight into Mondragón.