Carlos Valdes admitted to being fatigued, but he certainly looked comfortable in his old environment. The Union central defender returned to the team this week after being on loan to two different clubs during the past 19 months.
And he made a major difference in Saturday’s 2-1 win over the Montreal Impact at PPL Park.
Valdes last played an entire game for Colombia’s World Cup team in a 4-1 win over Japan on June 24, admitted he had some rust.
Yet his presence was felt as he quarterbacked the Union defense. Plus that allowed Maurice Edu to move back to his more accustomed central midfield spot.
"Carlos was excellent he was a beast back there, wins all his battles and doesn’t try to do too much," Union interim manager Jim Curtin said. . For his first game back we talked about just keeping it simple and he’s experienced enough, he’s been through the wars and he did that tonight, he won every battle and made a lot of big blocks that don’t show up on the stat sheets but little through balls that he cuts out now."
The 29-year-old Valdes admitted that he had to fight fatigue.
"To be honest I felt tired and for some moments of the game I felt my body heavy but the confidence is coming because of the people and the fans like the way I play and I am trying to do the best I can."
Valdes was a fan favorite in his earlier tenure and before the game many in the sellout crowd of 18,703 at PPL Park were shouting "Carlos Valdes."
He helped lead the Union to their loan MLS playoff berth in 2011 and the next season he earned a spot on the league all-star team.
What he brings is a calm presence in the back line and veteran savvy as well.
"I thought he was excellent," Curtin said. "Coming into a group is not an easy thing, he’s familiar with a lot of the guys but it’s been awhile, for him to come into the group and play that well for us I was very, very happy."