Transfer News

Union acquire goalkeeper Matt Jones on loan

Philadelphia Union announced on Tuesday the acquisition of goalkeeper Matt Jones on loan from Portuguese Primeira Liga side Belenenses through the end of 2016.

Jones, 29, was born in England but has a green card and so will not occupy an international spot on the roster.

He joins Andre Blake and John McCarthy on the Union’s goalkeeping depth chart. Blake is expected to be away from the Union on national team duty with Jamaica for significant periods of time in 2016 for World Cup qualifiers and the Copa America Centenario.

Union sporting director Earnie Stewart said in a statement, “Matt’s experience and ability in big games will be a key asset to this goalkeeping group. We will count on him to become an immediate contributor, both in terms of his mentoring ability for our younger keepers, but also for his pure shot-stopping abilities.”

Jones began his youth career with the Port Vale Academy in 1995, moving to West Bromwich Albion in 2003 where he played on the reserve team. In 2005 he came to the US to attend college and played for Sacred Heart University in Connecticut. After college, he signed in 2009 with then USL-side Western Mass Pioneers, making his professional debut in a 3-1 road loss against Harrisburg City Islanders.

Before the start of the 2009-2010 season in Europe, Jones was signed by Portuguese second division side Santa Clara. A season with second division side União Madeira in 2011-2012 was followed by a move to Belenenses, where he played 41 out of 42 games in the 2012-2013 season, helping the team gain promotion to the first division. Jones was loaned to newly promoted first division side Tondela for the 2015-2016 season, making ten appearances. lists his current value at €1.6 million, or approximately $1.8 million.

Highlight reels are below.


  1. If the thought here is that Blake is going to be gone on international duty and could be an injury risk, so a capable backup is needed, I have no problem here. McCarthy is a cool dude, but I don’t see him as I guy I want starting significant minutes at this point in his career.
    If we’re passing over Andre for a new guy again…well, we’ve made all those jokes many times. Blake has earned the opportunity to see what he can do as the starter. If this new guy takes that from him by being better, than, well, Blake isn’t the keeper we thought he was and I’m fine with that. As long as they don’t crown him starter immediately, I’m cool.

    • They’ve all come out and said that Blake is the starter. This is for cover while he’s away, and to help mentor the young keepers. That’s all.
      Unfortunately, due to our history, we’ll all have to endure more jokes and ridiculous speculation for a couple of weeks.

      • Maybe. A 39 year old Nikolov can come to a place like the Union to mentor and be a backup. I don’t imagine that a 29 year old keeper coming from a first division team in Europe is going to come here with an easy acceptance of sitting on the bench.

      • el Pachyderm says:

        2 deep every position.
        They have been telling us this.
        Part of the philosophy part of the plan.

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        An article some place – my apologies for not remembering – today or last night mentioned that he had fallen out of favor where he was, and was no longer getting minutes. Blake will miss World Cup Qualifiers, training before the CONCACAF tournament, and the tournament for however long Jamaica stays alive.
        Moving from “We don’t want you,” to “We want you and you’ll get some games,” seems pretty easy to understand, to me.

    • OneManWolfpack says:

      McCarthy (MAYFAIR!!!) is a good shot stopper, but his distribution needs improve immensely. Jones is a solid add. It also puts no pressure on McCarthy, and allows him to get better.

      • I would actually disagree that McCarthy a good shot stopper (on anything but PKs). He is routinely out of position and fails to anticipate even the most routine passes on runs straight toward his box.
        Needs to work big time on his kicking as well, very far below even MLS standards. Gives up far too much field position everytime he puts foot to ball.
        Other than being “local”, this guy clearly does not have the chops to play goalie at the MLS level.

      • Yet.
        At only 23 and now with an opportunity for short term loans to BSFC to get games, I could see him developing into a decent MLS starter or at least a solid #2 like Seitz did.

      • I agree. Nothing against McCarthy as a person, and he’s young.
        Has a possibility to develop, but he is leagues out of his depth in MLS right now.

      • He’s certainly not the answer right now, but I do want to take a second and remind everyone what happened during that USOC quarterfinal against dead bull. Dude has the potential.

  2. Once again the depth has been improved on this team. This was a necessary signing for the overall structure of the 2 teams. Each signing is moving us closer to that 2 deep at each position.

  3. This was a necessary signing is a good signing and finally gives the goalkeepers a more veteran presence. Obviously Blake will start, but if he falters or is injured Jones will be a solid keeper. Positionally he looks very good. He looks calm and composed. I’ll say it again I like this signing wish it was more permanent, but I’ll take a full season loan. This pushes McCarthy to BSFC to compete for time if you ask me and I think that is the best thing for him.

  4. el Pachyderm says:

    And there is the sage seasoned veteran presence who earns you points when you need.

  5. He is going to play when Blake is away. Simple as that…better depth than McCarthy… He can talk situational awareness one on one. He has experience and lots of it…not saying that’s all he is here for but he brings it along. Good signing plain and simple!

  6. I have no qualms with this move, but I do hope that at some point in the next year or two we see Sylvestre back in a Union uniform. I really liked that kid and I think he’s a capable MLS backup and spot starter

  7. This may be Earnie’s clearest statement that last year’s team wasn’t good enough. Frankly don’t care if Blake feels threatened. This should push him. Jones doesn’t need to be anointed the starter because he has a window of games where Blake won’t be with the team. Watching McCarthy concuss himself with a face plant from throwing the ball because his kicks don’t stay on the pitch was all I ever needed to see. If this removes the remote possibility of Curtin getting cute with a PK sub, then I welcome my new favorite Union player.

    Once we ship out Edu for picks and magic beans and get a new manager, this team could be a contender.

    • We still need a left back someone to replace Edu and a striker for this team to be a contender. But these are at least starting to look like better signings than in the past. I like the Alberg signing and Jones signing quite a bit, now they need to get the rest of it right.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *