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Philadelphia Union to open at Lincoln Financial Field?

Union

Many Philadelphia fans are stirring with excitement over start of 2010, and the addition of Philadelphia to MLS. With the start of the season yet to be set and a tight construction schedule ahead of the team, Union fans might not get a chance to kickoff the season in their new stadium.

Because of the uncertainties about next year, Philadelphia's front office are keeping their options open as to the site of the first kick in 2010. Penn's Franklin Field has been discussed, but a more likely alternative would be the Philadelphia Eagles home, Lincoln Financial Field.

A host of this year's Gold Cup quarterfinal, the stadium is no stranger to soccer and playing a game or two at the start of the year would fulfill the Union's requirements. The facilities there are world class, and would be a decent stop gap for both the Union and Independence as they wait for the completion of the waterfront stadium in Chester.

What do you think of this development? Disappointed that it's a possibility? Think the stadium will be completed in time for 2010? Share your thoughts below.

Comments

  1. Correction,

    The regular track at Franklin Field is only four lanes wide. They decided many decades ago that four lanes wasn’t enough for the sprint races at the Penn Relays (which I am quite familiar with). They couldn’t add more lanes on the outside of the four, because the grandstands, which have a brick wall in front, come right up to the edge of the fourth lane. Therefore, they added four lanes on the inside. They use them for sprint races, run in lanes with a staggered start. Whereas the outer lanes are staggered out from the first lane, the inner lanes are staggered back from the first lane.

    For longer races, they use only the outer lanes, which are not a 440-yard track. They abandoned yardage distances, and replaced the track with a metric-sized one, more than 30 years ago.

    A soccer field inside the Franklin Field track would be more than a bit narrow. I think it would be about 60 yards wide. There has been soccer played there. The Philadelphia Atoms played there in 1976, and the United States played Dnepr Dnepropetrovsk there in 1989. It is far from ideal, however.

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  2. Good. Maybe I can actually get a ticket for opening night. The Union will great turn out at Lincoln for the first match.

    That being said, I see no reason why Chester won’t be done. I was by there the other day. Looks like its right on schedule…though I must admit I did not major in stadium building in college!

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  3. Roger Allway,

    No idea where you got that Franklin Field has a 350 meter track–if it did, it would make hosting the Penn relays, the largest track and field competition in the U.S., rather difficult, wouldn’t it? You are right, though, in saying that it’s not a 400 meter track; it measures out 440 yards, which is usually found and is based on the more traditional 1/4 mile increments.

    As for hosting a soccer match, the field would be ok, but a bit narrow. Still, I’m all for it–it would make my life a lot easier.

    Here’s a BS thread discussing the size of the field:

    http://www.bigsoccer.com/forum/archive/index.php/t-379760.html

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  4. You get a brand new SSS your first year in existence, please don’t complain about driving 20 minutes out of the city for a game.

    I’ll probably be heading out there next year when RSL rolls into town. I’ve got some family in the area, and I’ll bring them along to try to convert them to soccer. I’m excited to see the stadium and atmosphere there.

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  5. I’m eager to see Philly play. I’m in NYC and I would travel to the first game if tickets were available. I’m sure NJ-based RB fans would feel the same.

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  6. I live in the Philly area and I would love this. If they had all their games at LFF I would get season tickets. However, I do NOT plan on travelling down to Chester much at all to see them play. Most people I talk to seem to feel the same. It’s a shame they did not build or use a downtown stadium. I think they could have had bigger crowds.

    Posted by: Jeff

    ________________________________________

    Welcome to MLS, Jeff. Thanks for bringing up the novel concept of a downtown stadium. That’s never been thought of until now.

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  7. I just think it’s a little too optimistic of Union or MLS fans to think having a new franchise in the city will draw 30-40k because have 10k already for season tickets 20 miles from Philly. We haven’t had soccer here for 30 years compared to first games by Toronto and Seattle who already had former fans of their USL teams. These are all going to be brand new fans of a brand new sport in a city. Lower the expectations, we won’t put numbers up like Toronto and Seattle our first year let alone 30-40k

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  8. Ives,

    I don’t like the idea of the Union starting in a 65+k stadium because it’ll drown out the noise and attmosphere at the game because it will not be full even against a local derby w DCU or NYRB. Oh your emblem you used for the Union is old colors, they darkened and lightened other c

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  9. Bernini has it right…the opener at the Linc could be a good thing and a ferry service from Penns Landing to Chester on matchdays would be sick! I know I would be on it every match…hopefully byo as well!

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  10. More importantly for Union fans Chester was willing to build the stadium. Without Chester your expansion team would be opening play in St. Louis next year.

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  11. best of all scenarios: a game or two at the Linc, then ferry service for city types who want to go to the new Chester stadium. Arriving by boat would be a bad-ass way to approach games…and sustainable, too!

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  12. I live in the Philly area and I would love this. If they had all their games at LFF I would get season tickets. However, I do NOT plan on travelling down to Chester much at all to see them play. Most people I talk to seem to feel the same. It’s a shame they did not build or use a downtown stadium. I think they could have had bigger crowds.

    Posted by: Jeff | September 17, 2009 at 01:32 PM

    While the city dwellers might find this inconvenient, think of all the fans from montgomery, bucks, chester, berks, lehigh, lancaster (you get the idea) counties who will be more likely to go to chester than all the way into the city.

    As for the stadium, I don’t care where they kickoff I just know I have a season ticket and will be there with the Sons of Ben.

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  13. Jeff – i hear ya about the downtown stadium… and even though its a long drive for me (4hrs, central CT) i plan on going to at least 4 games… hope to see you at one of them

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  14. Franklin Field doesn’t have a 400-meter track the way so many stadiums do. It has a 350-meter track. There is no way they can fit a legitimate-sized field inside that.

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  15. glad we have another team added to the fold and that they will quite soon be playing in their own SSS! A few games at LFF? A bonus!

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  16. I live in the Philly area and I would love this. If they had all their games at LFF I would get season tickets. However, I do NOT plan on travelling down to Chester much at all to see them play. Most people I talk to seem to feel the same. It’s a shame they did not build or use a downtown stadium. I think they could have had bigger crowds.

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  17. I actually think it would be a good thing to play the 1st game at LFF. I’d be willing to bet Philly could easily get a crowd of between 30,000-40,000 out for the first game. Having the inaugural game and then following it up with the stadium opening a few weeks later would really generate a lot of attention and excitement around the city.

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  18. There seems to be some pros to this: new team and new excitement might drive people who wouldn’t wanted to go all the way to chester and by getting them to one game at LFF it might then convince them the trip is worth it.

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  19. Knowing how quickly the season tickets went, there are very little seats left, so for the opening game to be held at Lincoln Financial it’s actually a relief to me, I’ll be able to get tickets! If we fill up Lincoln Financial for the opening game, that would look great…

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  20. With the pics I’ve seen of the stadium, it looked like it would be completed on time.

    I’m looking forward to seeing the stadium, but if it’s only a few games in LFF, it wouldn’t be so bad. Probably to start of the season, there will be extra interest of a new franchise in the city, and the extra capacity might be able to fill that need.

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  21. I have no idea if their stadium will be ready the first week of the MLS season but there is no reason it wouldn’t be ready during the MLS season. Have their 4th game at home which should give them an extra month. I believe TFC started their home season later in the year to give them time to prepare. If Phili plays an early game at NYRB that would only be a short trip for their fans and they could get regional media coverage.

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