Carlos Valdes Reportedly Returning to Philadelphia Union

Carlos Valdes Union

Photo Courtesy Carlos Valdes’ Twitter.

The on-again, off-again saga that is the relationship between Carlos Valdes and the Philadelphia Union appears to be finally ending.  It has been rumored and reported for several weeks that his return was imminent.  Earlier today multiple reports stated that his return would be announced in the next 24-48 hours.  The Union put out a press release stating that interim manager Jim Curtin would “make a major player announcement tomorrow.”  The announcement will occur during his weekly press conference and is presumably to announce the return of the former captain and fan favorite Valdes.

Valdes began his career in his native Colombia when he signed with Real Cartagena in 2005.  He played in 33 matches and impressed enough to earn a move to America de Cali, one of South America’s most famous clubs.  After four seasons there, he moved on to Independiente Santa Fe, where he continued to be one of the top defenders in the Colombian league.  His strong play attracted the attention of the Union, and he was signed on a one year loan deal in January 2011.  He made his debut on March 19, 2011 in the team’s season opener, which was a 1-0 victory in Houston.  Once again his strong play garnered him another move; this time a permanent transfer to the Union.  The move was announced August 5, 2011.  His continued strong played attracted the attention of Colombia national team coach Jose Pekerman.  Valdes was named to the MLS All Star team in 2012.

The drama began after the 2012 season as Valdes was on the fringe of the national team.  His goal was to play in the World Cup, and Pekerman told him he needed to return to South America to stay in contention for the team.  Pekerman felt MLS was an inferior league.  In early 2013, the Union obliged his request and loaned him back to Santa Fe.  He played well enough to become a regular member of the national team.  The situation came up again following the 2013 season, and, eventually, he was loaned to Argentine power San Lorenzo.  Valdes made the World Cup and played in Colombia’s final group match against Japan; it was his only appearance.

Controversy then arose again, as the Union claimed he wanted to return, and he claimed that he hadn’t been paid since he arrived in Argentina.  San Lorenzo said they had paid him on time at first, but then admitted they were late and attempted to  pin the blame on MLS and the Union.  Valdes then also said, apparently, in a radio interview in Colombia that he would return to MLS but ask for an immediate loan elsewhere.   It became obvious he would not return to San Lorenzo and for the last few weeks there have been few updates.

The Union said they would only give an update when he finally arrived in town.  Apparently that time is now, and we will find out tomorrow if fences have been mended permanently or if it is just a short term solution.  Many Union fans are tired and frustrated over this situation and some wanted the team to just cut ties with him altogether.

However, the team desperately needs his experience in central defense and the move will make most fans very happy, especially after signing Algerian goalie Rais M’Bolhi last week in a move that most feel was unnecessary.

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