In the second major press conference in a week, Philadelphia Union GM Nick Sakiewicz and Manager Jim Curtin flanked a high-profile addition to the club. This time they were welcoming back former captain Carlos Valdes from his loan stint in South America, which saw him represent his native Colombia in the 2014 World Cup.
Valdés, who was on loan to Deportivo Cali in 2013 before being sent on an ill-fated loan to Argentine giants San Lorenzo this season, is very eager to get back into a Union kit, stating "I want to come back to help my team." When asked, when he'll be able to play, Jim Curtin said "Whenever Carlos says he's ready." The Colombian center back later added that he thought it would be a week to two weeks before he was back in the lineup.
Sakiewicz pointed out that there was a new deal struck with Valdés, and that both him and new addition Raïs M'Bolhi are here on long-term contracts. And Kevin Kinkead tweeted that Valdés would not be a Designated Player:
Alright: valdes is not a DP, FIFA did not have to get involved, and the team does not have to make a corresponding roster move- Kevin Kinkead (@kevinkcbs3) August 4, 2014
Sakiewicz thanked Chris Albright, who he said had worked extensively with MLS and Valdés, for helping facilitate this. He said that the whole situation between Valdés, San Lorenzo, and MLS had been a "very complicated legal matter" and that he was happy that it was resolved, noting that Carlos was happy to be back and the Union were happy he was back. He also went on to say that "We're not done. We're an ambitious club. We want to lift trophies."
As much maligned as Sakiewicz is (and for good reason) sometimes, it seems as though this past week he has done much to quiet his critics. The club has brought in two players within a week fresh off of World Cup showings who have turned the Union into a club with legitimate aspirations both for MLS playoffs as well as the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup. The Union has missed veteran leadership at center back, and the return of Valdés should see the end of the revolving door at center back (no more Aaron Wheeler or Austin Berry experiments), although Curtin did note that Maurice Edu could play at defensive midfield or center back depending on the situation.
Have the Union done enough to push them into either winning the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup Trophy or making a push in the playoffs? Answer the poll below and let us know how you think the return of Valdés will effect the Union this season.