Union waive Holder to make space during transfer window

Union waived 'keeper Thorne Holder

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CHESTER, Pa. — Earlier this week, Thorne Holder became the latest casualty of the Philadelphia Union’s ever-revolving door of goalkeepers.

Now the question is who will replace him.

As expected, team manager Peter Nowak said during his weekly press conference Thursday that Holder’s release was done to precipitate other moves before the international transfer window ends on Aug. 14.

“We’re in the middle of the transfer window, so in order to accomplish something necessary, because of the restrictions, you have got to make some moves,” Nowak said. “That was part of our thinking. And we’re still looking. It could be a week or two, but we’ll try to do it before the window shuts down.”

While the Union have plenty of room to add to their 30-man roster, Holder’s release opens up an international spot they previously did not have. Among other moves, the Union will almost certainly look to bring in another third-string goalkeeper to take Holder’s place.

Holder, a native of Trinidad and Tobago, was signed by the Union after an impressive preseason but didn’t get many opportunities during the year to show his worth, in large part because he was third in the pecking order behind 40-year-old Faryd Mondragón and 19-year-old Zac MacMath — or as Holder once called them, “a legend” and "a prodigy."

The third-string 'keeper never made his MLS debut, playing in only four reserve games and last week’s friendly against Everton FC, when he held the English Premier League team to a scoreless second half.

“Thorne was a great guy in the locker room but unfortunately, he didn’t see many minutes or many games,” Nowak said. “It’s difficult to manage that.”

In less than two years of existence, the Union have now parted ways with four goalkeepers, three of whom have been waived. Almost exactly a year ago, the Union dumped third-stringer Brian Perk, and then, in the offseason, replaced the Chris Seitz-Brad Knighton tandem with Mondragón and MacMath.

Perk and Seitz are currently reserves with the LA Galaxy and FC Dallas, respectively, while Knighton is arguably the best 'keeper in the North American Soccer League as a member of the Carolina RailHawks.

“It’s always a hard thing,” Nowak said. “The trades, waivers — we are with these guys every single day and if you have a guy who comes in every single day with a great mentality and is great in the clubhouse, it’s difficult to part ways. It’s never going to be easy.

“It’s not that we don’t need [Holder], or any other player. But we can’t pull a rabbit out of the hat if we don’t have the resources.”

Dave Zeitlin covers the Union for MLSsoccer.com. Follow him on Twitter at @DaveZeitlin.