Home Opener a hit for Union

With all of the World Cup action that is taking place fans may have overlooked what was a great moment this past weekend when the Philadelphia Union played their first home game in PPL Park.

The Union — which had struggled to just two wins in its first 10 games — used the home cooking to produce their best result of the season, a 3-1 win over Seattle.

Here is an assessment of the stadium and the day by our good friends at www.phillyuniontalk.com.

The stadium itself was a statement.  If you would have told me 5 years ago that there was going to be almost 20,000 people packed into a soccer-specific stadium on a Sunday in June, I would have told you to put down the pipe.  Yesterday the entire Union family made that pipe dream a reality.  I was impressed with the quality and dimensions of the pitch.  The Union have a proper-sized field, conducive to playing attractive football.  I can only speak for the sight lines from my seat, but my view of the game was very nice.  The seats were comfortable, and I did not feel like I was on top of my neighbors.  The Big Screen was good enough to watch replays of recent plays on, and when I ran to get a beer or go to the head there were plenty of flat screens to keep up on the action with.  The concessions seemed fine to me.  I mean, I got a soft pretzel.  It’s pretty hard to mess up a soft pretzel.

I will say that the cups of ice were nice considering how freaking hot it was, and the towels that were intended as rally towels were life savers as neck and head coolers.  Of course  I could point out some negatives (parking, size of concourses during half time, techno songs after goals), but that’s not what today is about.  Today is about thanking all those that made yesterday possible and celebrating the official arrival of soccer to the city of Brotherly Love.  I want to make this bloggers opinion on PPL clear: This is a wonderful place to watch a soccer match.

You can read the full article here.

In a time where soccer is gaining notoriety across the country it’s great to see that right here in Philadelphia the fan base is ready to give professional soccer a fair chance.

Philadelphia Union win home opener


Thousands of fans were decked out in blue and gold jerseys, hats, t-shirts and scarves, juggled soccer balls and played soccer games with mini nets and woofed down typical tailgate fare in the parking lot of Lincoln Financial Field as early as four hours before the first tap of the Philadelphia Union’s first home game in club history on Saturday.

 Union flags waved from cars in the stiff wind while other fans carried them into the stadium. The Sons of Ben, the fan support group of the Union that is hundreds strong, marched down 11th street chanting and singing en route to the entrance.

That was the scene outside the stadium.

Inside, it was just as electric.

 The entire lower bowl of the stadium was virtually filled with a sprinkling of fans sitting in the club level, and the line was out the door to get into the team store on the main concourse. In front of more than 34,000 fans, the team made a grand entrance on to the field just after 7:50 and Vice President Joe

Biden had the first kick, which is akin to throwing out the first pitch in baseball.

 When Sebastian Le Toux scored in the first minute, the first goal in club history, the crowd went bananas waving their rally towels. When the game ended, they were just as ecstatic as fireworks shot off from the top of the stadium.

 The final score: Union 3, D.C. United 2.

 It was just the first home game for the newest professional team in town, but if Saturday was any indication, the Union should be a popular team and a tough ticket in its inaugural season.

Union is not backing down

In case you hadn’t heard.  There is a new team in town.

Led by the ownership group of Keystone Sports and Entertainment, LLC, the club operated under the name MLS Philadelphia for most of 2008 and the early portion of 2009. 

Peter Nowak was introduced as the first ever Team Manager of Philadelphia Union on May 29th, 2009. The club’s first players were then acquired on November 25th via the MLS Expansion Draft. the club plays its home opener April 10th. 
Because it has been 30 years since a top-flight professional soccer team had played a game in Philadelphia the cities  rich and successful soccer history may be unfamiliar to many fans. Make no mistake, while the City of Brotherly Love may be a newcomer to MLS, the region’s professional soccer history is second to none.
The Philadelphia Atoms won the NASL championship in 1973 and had a productive 4 year run here, before being replaced by the Philadelphia Fury who never produced a winning season.   I remember as a child going to the games and wondering at how big everything seemed.   Then the Fury was transplated by the Fever, and the league changed to the MISL which held less appeal to me than the outdoor league it was formed from.
Now finally, back, as real Major League Soccer professionals, we have the Union.  I urge all to go and support this team. 
They play 30 games in the complete schedule, and lost their season opener by a score of 2-0 to the Seattle Sounders
They are led by Peter Nowak.  Nowak has won MLS Cups as both player and coach, the only individual to have accomplished the feat in league history.  He is joined by John Hackworth and Rob Vartughian.
The team is led by a group of great players acquired in this years draft.   These players include Alejandro Moreno, Shea Salinas, Shavar Thomas, Jordan Harvey, and Danny Califf, among others.  
Come out Saturday to the Linc.  Come early, the pregame tailgating begins at 9 a.m., the game against DC United doesn’t start til 6 p.m.  But we have soccer in Philadelphia again !!

Philadelphia Union make debut

Welcome to the MLS, Union. Many lumps will be taken ahead.

The Philadelphia Union had its first game as an MLS franchise Thursday night and looked every bit the part of an expansion team, losing to the Seattle Sounders, 2-0, in Seattle.

The Union had very little going for them offensively and even less when a player was sent off the field with a second-yellow, red card in the 40th minute. That took away any chance Philadelphia had of making it a game. Bellow are a few thoughts on the Union’s debut.

The team is not sure to do with it’s No. 1 pick Danny Mwanga: In this year’s MLS SuperDraft the Union took Congo native Mwanga with their first pick. This kid is a pure goal scorer having once scored 53 goals in a nine-game stretch at a Portland High School. He later scored 14 goals in 18 games at Oregon State. The problem is Mwanga is a pure forward and for whatever reason Union coach Peter Nowak started him in the center midfield position. He looked out of place on the field for the half that he played. Hopefully they put him in his natural position as the team is to weak in too many areas to waste his talents.

Fans are interested: Did you see the crowd in Seattle? It was a great sight for the MLS as over 36,000 fans filled Seattle’s stadium. While Philadelphia does not have the die hard soccer fan base that Seattle does, it should have good showings this season. The Union have already sold 10,000 season tickets and are expecting 20,000 for the home opener. That crowd may not look large as they are starting the season with a couple of games at Lincoln Financial Field, but once they start playing in their much smaller stadium in Chester the crowd will look much stronger. Philadelphia waited a long time to get a team and it’s good to hear that the fans are supporting it.

Start of season will be rough: Because the Union’s home stadium in Chester is not yet completed, Philadelphia will have to get used to playing on the road a lot to start the season. Eight of the team’s first 10 games are away from home putting the expansion team in a very tough position. Just learning how to play as a team will be tough enough during the early going, but doing so on the road makes it that much harder.

Waiting for Fred: Many Brazilian soccer players go by just one name. You may have heard of Pele, Ronaldo and Ronaldinho. Well, it’s time to meet Fred. Yes Fred. The one named Brazilian soccer player was a key acquisition in the offseason, but was suspended for the season opener. I don’t know much about Fred. Honestly, I know nothing about his skill set. I do know I want a jersey, though. Fred, just Fred.