Union seal loan deal to send Valdes back to Colombia

If the Philadelphia Union hope to regain the form they lost during a frustrating 2012 season, they're going to have to make do without Carlos Valdes.

The club announced on Tuesday that it will send the MLS All-Star center back to Colombia’s Independiente Santa Fe on loan for the length of the Liga Postobon Primera A season, meaning that Valdes will miss the 2013 campaign with Philadelphia.

The move comes as Valdes sought a club closer to home in hopes of participating in Copa Libertadores action and receiving a call-up to the Colombian national team. Colombia’s first division began its campaign yesterday, granting Valdes the chance to gain immediate exposure in front of Colombian national team coach Jose Pekerman. All this arrives ahead of the final phase of CONMEBOL qualifying for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

"We will certainly miss Carlos for this season, but this is a unique situation,” Union head coach John Hackworth said in a statment. “We have done everything possible to make sure this move works for both the player and our club.  Our hope is that this allows Carlos the best chance of reaching his dream of playing in the 2014 World Cup."

Valdes, 27, joined Philadelphia on loan from Santa Fe on Jan. 20, 2011. Seven months later on Aug. 5, 2011, the Union secured the full rights to Valdes, who was instrumental in leading the club to its first postseason appearance.

This past season, Valdes appeared in 33 matches, and scored two goals. Along with midfielder Michael Farfan, Valdes represented the Union at the MLS All-Star Game. His play also earned Valdes recurrent Colombian national team call-ups for both friendlies and FIFA World Cup qualifying matches.