Philadelphia Union make debutby Eric Schwartz
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.