One of the Philadelphia Union's best players this season has been Brian Sylvestre. The twenty-two year old goalkeeper was called up on loan from the Carolina RailHawks on May 7, after the club's number one (Rais M'Bolhi) was exiled, came back, and was exiled again, the club's number two went out with his second meniscectomy this year, and the number three got a concussion. It could have been another disastrous stint by a forgettable player, but Sylvestre has had two clean sheets in his three starts (and in the third match was hung out to dry by his defense). Sylvestre's performance on Sunday against the New York Red Bulls allowed the Union to pick up their first win ever at Red Bull Arena.
But Sylvestre is on loan, and this means that he's still a Carolina RailHawk. Carolina recalled Sylvestre yesterday to play goalkeeper in their U.S. Open Cup match tonight against the Charlotte Independence in Cary, North Carolina. He'll then return to Philadelphia on Thursday as the Union prepare to head down I-95 to face D.C. United this Saturday.
This appearance will cup-tie Sylvestre to Carolina, which means that he won't be able to play in any U.S. Open Cup matches for the Union - even if Carolina gets knocked out. This is a smart move by Carolina, as there's money at stake. There's gate receipts - especially if they are able to draw an MLS side, which would most certainly draw fans - but also the promise of $15,000 to the NASL team that gets the farthest in the competition. If they were able to advance to the Final, they'd get $60,000 for showing up and $250,000 for winning. For an NASL side, even the $15,000 prize for advancing the furthest for their league is sizable.
So best of luck to Brian and Carolina. While he's out, the Union will most likely have John McCarthy in goal, as Andre Blake may or may not be back from his surgeries and Rais M'Bolhi is off doing whatever it is that exiled goalkeepers do. So who would you like to see in goal? Take our poll and let us know in the comments below!