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Official: Roland Alberg signs with CSKA Sofia

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The Dutch midfielder has joined the Bulgarian club on a two-year deal.

MLS: Philadelphia Union at Chicago Fire Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

After a tumultuous two seasons, Roland Alberg’s Philadelphia Union career has come to a close. The midfielder has officially joined CSKA Sofia on a two-year deal, the Bulgarian club announced today.

Alberg was previously linked to CSKA back in September, when MSG Network reporter and occasional Union insider Kristian Dyer revealed that the Union had denied offers for Alberg from Sofia and another club.

Alberg expressed his desire to stay with the Union in an interview with mlssoccer dot com two weeks ago. As stated in both Dyer’s report and the linked mls piece, Alberg’s contract had a team option.

The prospect of a move to the Balkan Peninsula resurfaced last week, when a Bulgarian reporter tweeted that Alberg was on his way to Sofia.

The Union signed Alberg in February of 2016, in the final month of Earnie Stewart’s first preseason as Sporting Director.

In just 2024 minutes, the 27-year-old bagged 16 goals, making him the fifth-highest goalscorer in Union history. Though he scored goals at a pace heretofore unseen by Union fans, Alberg’s Union legacy will be marred by his failure as a playmaker and his myriad on-field and off-field personal issues.

In his role as the team’s central attacking midfielder, Alberg only supplied four assists in two seasons, generally failing to connect with his teammates in the final third. Alberg’s goal total was inflated by his success at the penalty spot, as he scored six penalties over two seasons. That second point was repeatedly a point of issue with his teammates, specifically CJ Sapong.

In July, Alberg got the Deadspin treatment for poaching a penalty away from Sapong, who was on the verge of scoring double-digit goals in a season for the first time in his career. The two got into it on the field, and Alberg didn’t exactly rush to celebrate with Sapong when the forward scored later that game. The bust-up didn’t come out of nowhere: Alberg did the exact same thing to Sapong three weeks earlier, though he converted the penalty that time.

Alberg’s departure clears up at least $394,250 in cap space, giving the Union the room to add an effective playmaker at that position. At the time, it seems that the Union let Alberg’s contract expire so that he could join CSKA Sofia on a free transfer, meaning that they would receive nothing in terms of compensation.