Source: goalie Mondragon set to join Union

Posted: December 13, 2010

It appears the rumor regarding Colombian goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon joining the Union is true.

The Daily News has learned from a source close to the situation that Mondragon has agreed to a contract with the Union that awaits approval from Major League Soccer. It was first reported in German magazine Kicker that the Union had struck a deal with the 39-year-old. Mondragon currently plays for FC Koln (Cologne) in the German Bundesliga and would arrive via a free transfer.

Union officials would not comment. Manager Peter Nowak, who handles all player personnel issues, said in a text message that he was unable to comment on "players or personnel currently under contract." The Kicker report claims that Mondragon's contract has an agreement with former Koln general manager Michael Meier that would allow him to leave the club with no strings attached upon the Bundesliga's winter break, which begins on Dec. 20.

Originally, reports were that Mondragon was being pursued by the Union's Eastern Conference rival Red Bull New York. The friendship between Mondragon and former Red Bulls forward Juan Pablo Angel - Angel is godfather to Mondragon's son - was said to have enticed Mondragon, miffed with his current club, to greener pastures.

Mondragon was relegated to second string this season after rifts with Koln boss Zvonimir Soldo over his desire to compete in more international competitions. Mondragon was in goal for Colombia's scoreless draw against the United States in the Oct. 12 friendly at PPL Park.

The oldest player in the German first division, Mondragon has appeared in 11 matches this season and made 32 saves. Cologne is currently in the relegation zone (4-9-3) with 15 points.

If (and apparently when) finalized, the deal will assuredly mean the exodus of either Chris Seitz, 23, or Brad Knighton, 26, both of whom failed to impress as Union goalkeepers in the team's inaugural season. Seitz, along with Brazilian midfielder Fred are still up for grabs through the MLS' new two-part re-entry draft. The second phase of the draft, which allows teams to offer contracts or retain rights to a player out of contract, reconvenes Wednesday.

If official, Mondragon will be the Union's fifth international, joining countrymen Juan Diego Gonzalez and Roger Torres as well as Eduardo Coudet (Argentina) and Toni Stahl (Finland).

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