Faryd Mondragón definitely knows what he's getting into by coming to Philadelphia.
The Union's new goalkeeper experienced the atmosphere at PPL Park during the U.S.-Colombia friendly last fall. So when he and fellow new signing Carlos Valdez were introduced this afternoon, Mondragón already knew what to tell the fans in attendance.
"I've been doing my homework," Mondragón said. "I know Philadelphia has a lot of special, uh, attitude with its sports."
That pretty well set the tone for the day, as the Union front office basked in the glow of having given its roster a considerable boost. A lot of credit is due to Diego Gutierrez, the Union's head of scouting and player development. The former U.S. national team player and MLS veteran has only been with the club for a month, but he has already made a serious impact.
You can check out a photo slideshow of today's event above, and listen to an audio track of the press conference below.
I also shot a number of videos, including exclusive interviews with both new signings. Click on the names below to hear from:
I'll be back tomorrow with a post on how Mondragón and Valdés could have a serious effect beyond the Union's back line.
Before I leave, though, there is one other breaking news item: it appears that Slovakian striker Marek Mintal is not coming to the Union. According to German newspaper Nürnberger Zeitung, Mintal wanted more money, and was "not exactly enthusiastic" about his visit to Philadelphia.
We'll see if the Union decides to pursue another international player instead. Nick Sakiewicz and Peter Nowak dropped a few fairly strong hints today that the club isn't done bringing in players yet.