Union goalkeeper Rais Mbolhi was a World Cup standout last summer, but he didn't feel like one during a late-season home game against the Chicago Fire.

With the game winding down in second-half stoppage time, Mbolhi made an errant pass that turned into a goal as the Fire salvaged a 1-1 tie Oct. 2 at PPL Park.

Allowing two points to slip away that day, the Union kept sliding out of playoff contention.

That game and Mbolhi's miscue were brought up this past week - not by the team, but reporters - because the Union will visit the Fire on Sunday for a Major League Soccer game between teams looking for their first win.

The Union (0-1-2) played their first three games against the rugged Western Conference. Chicago (0-3) has scored just one goal and is coming off a 6-10-18 season.

Mbolhi, 28, has enjoyed more success on the international stage than in his brief Union career. He signed with the Union July 30 after a stellar performance in the World Cup for Algeria. Mbolhi led Algeria to the round of 16, where it lost, 2-1 in overtime, to eventual champion Germany.

While others are talking about last year's game against the Fire, Mbolhi isn't one of them, at least to reporters. He was criticized for his play in that game.

This season he has not granted interviews - it's unknown whether last year's criticism had a bearing on that choice - and declined to speak for this story.

Mbolhi didn't make much of an impact last season, and this year has been more of the same.

He opened with a scoreless draw against Colorado but wasn't tested. Then came a 3-3 draw at Real Salt Lake, with two goals scored against him off free kicks and a third on a penalty kick.

Last Saturday, with the Union down a man after midfielder Zach Pfeffer earned a red card in the 41st minute, Mbolhi allowed two second-half goals, one off a defensive miscue, in a 2-0 loss to FC Dallas.

"I am fine with how Rais has been and know he will come up big for us and win games as we get going," coach Jim Curtin said.

Still, the Union drafted goalie Andre Blake No. 1 overall last year, and signing Mbolhi, despite his World Cup excellence, seemed like overkill.

Blake, who returned to practice recently after having knee surgery in February, played just one MLS game last season behind departed Zac MacMath and Mbolhi. Curtin said the Union will have Blake play at times with the team's USL affiliate, Harrisburg, to gain some experience.

Curtin added he's happy that Mbolhi declined to play in a recent friendly for Algeria, opting to stay with the Union.

"He is fully committed and wants to be here," Curtin said.