CHESTER, Pa. -- When the Union re-acquired center back Carlos Valdes on Monday, they didn’t just snag an experienced MLS All-Star, World Cup participant and athletic addition to their weak back line.
They received instinct impact.
“He knows every game is a playoff game and he’s itching ready to go,” said interim Union manager Jim Curtin. “I get excited thinking about that. We’ll obviously talk through that on the pitch. But whenever Carlos tells me he’s ready, he’ll be in our starting lineup, that’s for sure.”
With 12 games remaining and sitting one win away from playoff position, the 5-9-8 Union, who are also two wins away from a U.S. Open Cup title, need immediate results. This is where the acquisition of Valdes factors in.
“Carlos just increases the talent on our team and it pushes us down the stretch here,” Curtin said. “Carlos knows our fans, he knows what they bring, and he’s one that wants this city to win a championship. This is what this is about.”
It’s also about finding the right fit. Unlike Algerian World Cup goalkeeper, Rais MBolhi, who was brought in last week, Valdes, former Union captain and MLS All-Star, has a familiarity with Philadelphia that isn’t easily replicated. Because of that, the hope is for Valdes to spend less time adjusting and more time contributing down the stretch.
“The good thing is that seamless transition,” Curtin said. “He’s familiar with all the guys. He’s played with Ray Gaddis, Sheanon Williams, knows them very well. It makes the process a lot easier. He also knows the difficulties of our league. He knows what it’s like to fly 3,000 miles to play one game. A lot of new players and foreign players struggle with that.”
Not Valdes, who was eager to get right back in the mix.
“I’m very excited and I’m really, really happy of being back,” he said. “I just can’t wait to see what’s going on, what’s going to happen the rest of the season.”
And neither can the Union.