From left, Colombian National Team players Faryd Mondragon and Carlos Valdes are unveiled Thursday as members of the Philadelphia Union at Fado Irish Pub in Philadelphia. James Clark

PHILADELPHIA -- When a second-year Major League Soccer franchise such as the Philadelphia Union looks to upgrade their roster, it's understood that the new players will improve the side on the field. But it's certainly an added bonus when one of those newcomers brings experience, humor and what looks like a fair bit of presence to the team.

In front of a lunch-time crowd of about 300 at Fado Irish Pub in Center City on Thursday afternoon, the Union unveiled two Colombian National Team players - Faryd Mondragon, a 39-year-old goalkeeper, and Carlos Valdes, a 25-year-old defender - as new members of the team, pending international clearance. In keeping with MLS policy, the players' length of contracts and salaries were not disclosed.

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The 6-foot-3, 207-pound Mondragon, especially, should solve one of the Union's weak points, and the double-signing signals a real intent on Philadelphia's part to make the MLS playoffs in 2011.

For more (including video), check back with the blog and read the Sports section in The Press of Atlantic City Friday morning.



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