Now, at first, I was quite excited as I knew I could recall the name M'Bolhi from somewhere, and I could, he was fantastic in Brazil last summer. However, Philadelphia Union fan, Eugene Rupinski, has done a good job of dispelling that excitement:
Get ready Bolton Wanderers fans - it sounds like the next stop in Raïs M'Bolhi's career might be with your team. I could give you the used car sales pitch, about how this sled has low miles and can be yours for a song, but I'll spare you.
The guy has proven that he can play. His match against Germany in the 2014 World Cup was masterful. There's no denying that. It was only one game, however. We in Philadelphia got to see a few more games from M'Bolhi after our part-owner ran out and acquired him from CSKA Sofia after his performance "in a little tournament in Brazil" - nine games to be exact.
M'Bolhi leaves after a 1-4-4 record that saw the Union miss the 2014 playoffs and get off to a dismal start in 2015. After a 3-2 loss to Sporting Kansas City where the Union conceded two goals in stoppage time (the only time in Major League Soccer's twenty year history that's ever happened).
This was all in the shadow of the Union traded up in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft to get Jamaican international goalkeeper Andre Blake as well as having a number one goalkeeper in Zac MacMath. In a league with restrictions on the amount of players you can have at one time, a third goalkeeper was a luxury on an otherwise austere team.
M'Bolhi's play while here was that of a guy who clearly couldn't care less about the game. He didn't talk to the media, and in the team photos prior to matches often times stood apart from his teammates. He was aloof, and neither the fans nor his teammates ever took to him. No one here will be upset to see him go, whether it's to Bolton or elsewhere.
Maybe Neil Lennon can be the manager who gets M'Bolhi to play at the level he did in Brazil. Maybe he'll be a serviceable backup and will help BWFC get back to the Premiership. Or maybe it'll just be the eleventh in a long series of stops in M'Bolhi's career. Either way, it's time for him to move on from here.
We thank Eugene for those... words of encouragement. We also ask you to check our Philadelphia brethren @BrotherlyGame on Twitter and brotherlygame.com.