Philadelphia Union captain Carlos Valdes spoke to Goal.com recently, talking about the MLS season, playing internationally with Colombia, and his own plans.
Asked about the Union's season, the 27-year-old told Goal.com that the team must build on its youthful core, including players like Amobi Okugo and Jack McInerney, who cemented their places in the starting lineup this season.
"This was the youngest team I had ever been on, and that is something good, but in other aspects it's difficult to manage.
"We need to keep this group but bring in some good newcomers for next year. We can't afford to make that mistake again, of changing processes in the middle of a season (the Union parted ways with manager Peter Nowak in June, replacing him with his assistant, John Hackworth). Some are always worth it, some are going to give you results right the way, others takes some time."
The 2012 MLS All-Star tipped Supporters' Shield winners San Jose and Eastern Conference top seed Sporting Kansas City to do battle for the MLS Cup.
"I think the champion could be between San Jose and Kansas. San Jose is a compact team, one that plays good soccer but at the same time runs and pressure well to recover the ball and Kansas is a good team, especially from midfield up top. One of those teams should be the champion."
With the Union out of the playoff picture, the Colombia national team member admitted that staying fit and in form for Colombia's bid at a World Cup berth would be a challenge.
You can read the full interview in Spanish right here.
"I have to admit that the inactivity is a problem," he confessed. "I'm trying to find ways to be active early in January. Going to Colombia on loan is not easy because the registration window is closed right now and the tournament starts again in February, so I will probably will play just a few games. Anyway I will try to get something done with the League, the team, and the advice of the technical staff from Colombia. I want to be ready for the next qualifiers and for that I have to be active really soon."
"This is the moment to qualify and go back to the World Cup," Valdes continued. "But at the same time, this is the moment to make a statement and create a consistency of being a regular team at the big stage. We are playing great soccer and we should keep showing that."
Valdes also talked of his pride about the possibility of playing for his country against South American and world powerhouse Brazil in next month's friendly in New Jersey.
"It's always a great experience, but when you have the national uniform on nothing is friendly. We have to keep showing that our work is paying off and that we are back to the big picture"
John Rojas contributed reporting to this story
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