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Philadelphia Union are unclear on how goalkeepers work

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Philadelphia have grand, if non-sensical, goalkeeper plans.

John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia Union had a young starting goalkeeper in Zac MacMath. Then they traded up to No. 1 in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft so they could draft Andre Blake. He is also a goalkeeper.

So what is a team with two young goalkeepers to do? Sign another goalkeeper, of course.

That is what the Union did in signing Raïs M'Bohli, a fine and accomplished goalkeeper who is coming off of a good World Cup for Algeria and is only 28 years old himself. Adding him to most teams would be an upgrade, and it is for the Union, but most teams haven't committed two top five draft picks in the last four years. They sure as hell didn't trade up to No. 1 to pick one.

But the Union are special. They are so super special, and they decided to hold a press conference announcing the M'Bihli signing so they could explain to us their specialness.

"Now we have three of the best goalkeepers in Major League Soccer in my opinion," Union CEO Nick Sakiewicz said.

What Sakiewicz forgot to mention is that MLS is changing its rules to allow for three goalkeepers to play at once. Either that or Pep Guardiola will be hired as manager and he wants to turn two of the Union's three goalkeepers into midfielders.

So why are the Union adding goalkeepers? Because "we acquire assets," Sakiewicz insisted.

What Sakiewicz didn't address was that the Union don't just acquire assets. They give up assets to get other assets, like they did when they traded up to draft Blake all of six months ago. And the point of assets is to then deal them or turn them into more useful pieces that fit, but does anyone really think that Philadelphia can trade Blake for more than the No. 2 pick and allocation money, which is what they gave up in order to move into the No. 1 spot?

But wait! The Union aren't going to trade Blake.

"We still believe he has a tremendous future with the club," Sakiewicz went onto say.

This is becoming quite clear now. Philadelphia are acquiring assets so they can keep assets, even when those assets play the same position -- the one position where you can only play one at a time.

But if they're so high on Blake, why don't they play him now?

Interim manager Jim Curtin said simply that you don't turn a team over to a young goalkeeper. Seems sensible, except then what have the Union have been doing for the last two years with the youngster MacMath in goal? They had no problem turning the team over to an even younger goalkeeper then, unless they wasted the last two years.

So in summation: The Union have three of the best goalkeepers in the league, a statement only they believe, and they will play all three at the same time because they acquire assets that they won't trade, and 23-year-old Blake is a great goalkeeper who is too young to start unlike 20-year-old MacMath two years ago.