Union part ways with Mondragon


The man who played as big a part as any in making the Philadelphia Union a playoff team is now headed home.

Philadelphia and goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon mutually agreed to the Colombian's release Monday, clearing the way for the 40-year-old to end his career in his native country. Mondragon had been rumored in recent days with a return to his first club, Deportivo Cali, and that move was confirmed this afternoon. 

After signing with the Union a year ago, nearly to the day, Mondragon transformed Philadelphia into a sound defensive unit, along with center back Carlos Valdes. He was the starting goalkeeper for the MLS All-Star Team against Manchester United in July.

Mondragon suffered a broken finger in September, which paved the way for rookie Zac MacMath to start a few games. MacMath will now be expected to take over permanently in goal for the Union.

The 40-year-old Colombian has played for eleven different clubs over his 22-year career, including three spells with Argentine club Independiente and two spells with Santa Fe in his native Colombia. He returns to Deportivo Cali after starting his career there in 1990.

What do you think of Mondragon's departure from MLS? Think MacMath can make it through a full season in goal for the Union?

Share your thoughts below.

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45 Responses to Union part ways with Mondragon

  1. Supsam says:


  2. Yo-Joe says:

    Very disappointed he’s leaving Philly, but he’s a class act and I wish him the best at home in Columbia.

  3. Mike Vann says:

    Huge shoes to fill for MacMath. I hope he’s ready. I hope Mondragon’s tutledge will serve MacMath well moving forward. Mondragon seemed like the consummate professional and was a crowd favorite. Sad to see him leave but it’s a big opportunity for MacMath who I hope takes off much like youngsters Hamid and Johnson.

  4. James says:

    He was wonderful for us, but honestly I am 100% ready for MacMath time. I think he’s ready to start, and is fully capable of taking his learning pains and using them to get better.
    For me, the only major question I have about MacMath is how long we can hold onto him before Europe comes calling.

  5. bobby says:

    Why would the union not sell him to Deportivo Cali rather than just release him?

  6. RK says:

    Someone is going to Colombia to play? I thought they were all leaving?

  7. Eric says:

    Wow. This could be huge for Philly. I think MacMath is going to be a great, possibly National teamp challenger, goalkeeper in the future but I wonder if he’s ready to be a full time starter just yet. If I’m Philly, I’m going out to find a veteran keeper to back him up and possibly step in for a bit if he struggles at first (like Sean Johnson did at the beginning of the Fire season).

  8. Eric says:

    Was thinking the same thing.

  9. Münster says:

    looks like an emperor penguin gettin ready to regurgitate lunch.

  10. USCasual says:

    Well there goes your season Philly… Only thing that kept you together last year.. So basically Mondragon pulls a Robert Pires and says “Chester isn’t beautiful enough for me”.. ha.. I predict Philly only amounts around 25-30 points this year..

  11. Ton says:

    NA NA NA NA, NA NA NA NA, HEY HEY HEY, GOODBYE. Says the jealous REDBULLS fan.

  12. irishapple21 says:

    Well, now Philly has lost their only decent player. What are the Phailadelphia Worms going to do now that they don’t have the Man Dragon stealing points for them anymore?

  13. pd says:

    James, I respectfully disagree. If given the choice between another year of FM or Zach McMath it’s a no brainer. McMath is a great young keeper but he’s not ready to be a starter on the pro level. The kind of confidence McMath gained from his strong string of starts as a backup was great but was a VERY different scenario from what he’ll now face as the number 1 or the number 2 if the Union bring in another vet. Either way we’re going to see a number of tests that are just regrettable for him to deal with at this stage because it will only serve to slow his progress down, not speed it up.

    This plus LeToux leaving. Bad news.

  14. PD says:

    Yeah and your keeper this season is gonna be awesome.

    Oh wait….
    you don’t
    a keeper yet,
    do you?

  15. pd says:

    Well I will grant you this. if the LeToux deal goes through as well it’s gonna be prime “put up or shut up” time for a lot of the pups who got some pretty good guidance (and bacon saving) from their veteran mentors.

    I picked a hell of a season to quit sniffing glue.

  16. Dinho says:

    Somewhere (presumably near Philly) Danny Califf just said, “Oh SH%T!”

  17. RLW2020 says:

    good for mcmath. it appears that he is ready but Mondragon was soo good, he will be missed.

    Funny how he had such a huge impact solidifying an entire defense but Rost did almost nothing but cause confusion in NY.

  18. James says:

    I agree that it’s going to be rough for him, but I am just a big “play the young guys” guy for all sports. He clearly has talent; in many ways he was the better shotstopping GK than Mondragon. And giving up 4 goals in your first half as a starter only go undefeated in that and the next 6 starts shows he has some amount of fortitude. In the end I would rather MacMath take his lumps now, and watch him grow, than some random “Veteran” who will never get better from game to game.

  19. somedude says:

    cause it’s a classy thing to do for a 40 year old man. If he wasn’t going to be the starter anymore, might as well do something that keeps him happy as well.

  20. Esteban de la Sexface says:

    @pd – “MacMath is a great young keeper but he’s not ready to be a starter on the pro level.” Says who? I agree that it would’ve been preferable to have Mondragon, but to make a blanket statement that “he’s not ready” is ridiculous. Looks like he’ll get a shot and then we’ll see.

  21. Esteban de la Sexface says:

    good call, sir.

  22. Joe says:

    Mondragon has played the game for so long he just knows how to take charge of his defense. It sure did help though that Valdes and Carrol where brought in too. I hope that MacMath can take some of Faryd’s management skills and keep the team in line. The Union did just allow the fewest shots on goal per game in MLS history so it wasn’t Mondragon making the big save all the time, it was him placing the chess pieces in the best spots and if MacMath can copy that he has the physical skills to be very good.

  23. AK says:

    Watched McMath play for the US youth squad and he stunk it up. Could be a season changer for the Union.

  24. JoeW says:

    Is MacMath a candidate for the US Olympic team? I know that Hamid is being groomed as the starter. So DCU is planning on having him gone for a chunk of the summer. So who else would be on the Olympic team? If it’s MacMath….

  25. GSScasual says:

    Not south carolina, Colombia

  26. GSScasual says:

    Meara, vuolo

  27. abc says:

    Nice to see middle aged people go back to college, it’s never too late.

  28. fischy says:

    tut ledge?

  29. fischy says:

    Yeah — they’re going to need a good back-up. Both teams do.

  30. abc says:

    Hamid and Sean Johnson will almost certainly be the two goalkeepers on the US Olympic roster, MacMath is probably #3 on the depth chart (so not on the roster) ahead of David Bingham…

  31. John says:

    Bill Hamid and Sean Johnson unless Porter wants to use on of his 3 over 23 spots for Guzan or Howard.

  32. JoeW says:

    I thought the Olympic roster was 23 players (i.e.: 3 goalkeepers).

  33. Answer says:

    What would make you think he wasn’t going to be the starter anymore?

  34. Mr. Union says:

    This one hurts! Mondragon set the defense in 2011, and although I know McMath is our future, I don’t know if he is ready for the starting spot for a full season. I think we just went from being 1st or 2nd in the East to mid-table at best.

  35. pd says:

    yeah, like I said…

  36. pd says:

    I’ll admit that saying he isn’t ready might be a bit severe, but it’s far from ideal for him to be asked to be a number 1 so soon. Now the learning curve will be public and there’s no excuse for failure when you’re the number 1. Yes he’s great and he’s got skills, but being a keeper is also about seasoning and experience. Again, Mondragon’s greatest asset was turning the 4-6 guys in front of him into a cohesive unit that read opposing teams incredibly well and stopped dangerous shots from ever developing.

    Plus my reaction is from the perspective that Union’s season was made by grinding out 0-0 and 1-1 draws and countless results that were by a margin of a goal–Mondragon was the difference in many of those games. With LeToux looking to be all but gone you’re now faced with relying on the young bucs to generate offense AND hold the back line? That’s placing a lot of faith in a lot of youth. Yes they have to learn some time, but wow.

  37. JonnyG says:

    LOL @ Philly

  38. JoeW says:

    Props to anyone to can manage to find a way to fit Airplane lines into a soccer discussion. Well done sir!

  39. Coach says:

    As a U fan, I am saddened that Mondragon is moving on. His leadership will be missed. To be honest though, his reactions are not as sharp as MacMath. The question will be can Zac command respect in his box? It certainly looks like the Union are moving toward their youth. Lets hope for the best!

  40. dave says:

    LOL agreed, well played irishappie21

  41. Al says:

    I agree about Macmath. He didn’t show enough last season to be given this job so soon. I understand the move, but the defense has to be a little better than last year.

    And Le Toux is not leaving…

  42. Mitch says:

    This is a big blow to the backbone of the team….this leader will be missed

  43. broadsthooligans says:

    watched MacMath play for the Union last year and had serious debates over whether MacMath or Mondy should get the playoff starts or be the opening day starter this year. Mondy was great, but MacMath was better in some ways.

  44. Area Man says:

    Vuolo is class.