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Thursday Kickoff: Philadelphia Union ready to take the field

Philadelphia Union 

After years of waiting, Philadelphia-area soccer fans will finally see their MLS team be born tonight when the Philadelphia Union takes on the Seattle Sounders (9:30pm, ESPN2).

It could be a rough first season for the new team and first-year head coach Peter Nowak, but the passionate fanbase coupled with the soon-to-be-completed PPL Park should help the newest expansion team enjoy success, at least off the field.

The moment isn't just special for Philly fans, it is also significant for fans of New York and D.C. United, two clubs within two hours of driving to Chester, Pa. Philadelphia's rivalries with the Red Bulls and D.C United promise to be some of the most passionate MLS has ever seen.

Here is our question for you Philly (and non-Philly) fans who have been waiting for a team of your own for some time. What does the official birth of the Philadelphia Union mean to you?

Share your thoughts below.

Comments

  1. well, answered my own question from SBI’s preview, but i think my formatting changed- fred is a LB?

    Projected Lineup

    ——Alejandro Moreno———Danny Mwanga———-

    Le Toux—Stefani Miglioranzi—Toni Stahl——–Shea Salinas-

    ——–Fred—–Orozco—–Thomas——Califf—–

    —————Chris Seitz—————-

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  2. Um, chill. It’s hardly a big deal for someone who lives well north of the city to complain that the stadium is south of the city. The location makes it accessible to those in south Jersey (across the Commodore Barry), Delaware, and parts of the Main Line (just south of where the blue route hits 95.) So, it’s acessible to a lot of different folks, but, of course, someone way north of the city is going to end up tacking some time onto his drive. Just be happy it’s not you.

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  3. I’m a Union fan and a Mets fan (it’s complicated.) We’ll be fine.

    What I’m hoping is that the Union are integrated into Philly sports culture (and not a niche sport with a fan base that wants to claim “ownership” and looks down on, e.g., baseball fans) but escapes the thicker-skulled aspects of Philly sports (and if you think they don’t afflict NY sports or DC sports, think again.) Wishful thinking.

    What it really means is a great time and some spirited, interesting soccer.

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  4. We are specifically trying to dissuade anyone with a green street or football factory fantasy from showing up. Having been transplanted here from another area and supporting non-philly teams in other sports I have taken a good deal of abuse. A little kidding is ok, flat out dissrespect and douchebaggery are not. The rest of the SoBs feel the same way, that’s why I joined them.

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  5. what’s the philly starting lineup going to look like? seattle have already said they’re going to bring the pressure- who’s the starting CM tandem? that’s not a terrible backline w/ Califf & Orozco, but if they never get a chance to breathe it could be a long nite and season.

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  6. If Philly has a soccer history anything like Seattle, then it will be a rebirth tonight, rather than the beginning of something new. For Seattle, Sounders FC is essentially the same Sounders team from the 70’s. Getting an MLS team in Seattle was way overdue, and I’m sure Philly fans feel the same.

    I only have one reason to hate Philly, they stole Le Toux. After we win tonight I would love to see him do well this year.

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  7. Awesome… my brothers identify with Philly, having lived in Cherry Hill, NJ for 7 years. They’re excited to have a team even though they aren’t into soccer as much. I’m a soccer fan all around and will (hopefully) be moving to Oregon later this year so I’ll have a team in the new Timbers expansion side. I’m looking forward to better rivalries and attendance to games.

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  8. I’ve been waiting three years for tonight. It still hasn’t hit me that it is actually here. Can’t wait for the home opener and the PPL Park opener.

    Union 2, Sounders 1.

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  9. Thanks for actually being respectful about it, I’m sure other Philly fans can agree it’s appreciated. Here’s to a good match tonight.

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  10. maybe it’s because of living in Philly… that doesn’t seem like “name-calling” to me. I wanted to call him a d-bag but held back. Seriously though- that arguement was weak and he deserves to be called out for it. I’ll be the internet bad guy if that’s what you want.

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  11. It means everything to me, soccer wise. I’m not a football, baseball, hockey or basketball fan. I’m an eagles, phillies, flyers and sixers fan. I’ve always enjoyed watching soccer, but couldn’t root for a team from NE, NYC, or DC, so I just waited casually watched MLS and loved the World Cup because I had a team. Now I have a team of my own in MLS, that I can root for, travel for games to Columbus, Toronto, NYC, NE and DC. Can’t wait for the season to start tonight! UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUnion

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  12. I am Sounders STH and love my team vehemently. I actually find myself excited for Philly and their opportunity to experience the buzz that we in the land of Sounders got to enjoy last year.

    Here’s to a good first season and a good match tonight.

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  13. I would guess that Union management doesn’t think they need it because of the city’s sports culture. I hope they’re right, but I do have my doubts.

    And it’s disgraceful that philly.com isn’t hyping this at all.

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  14. When are they expected to move into their new stadium?

    After last weekend at Red Bull Arena, I have fallen in love with small soccer stadiums. I can’t wait to see a game in Philly!

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  15. I’m happy to have a new team in the league. Though, as a neutral observer, I wish the Union’s PR department was similar to the Sounders. That is, I feel the Union missed an opportunity to generate excitement without constant video, interviews with the coaches, players, etc. Still, I’m happy for Philly, and happy for MLS.

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  16. Philly joining means two things to me:

    One, the Sounders have another team to beat up on

    Two, I am not one to believe in expansion can happen too quickly. It is a right market or it is not. Philly looks like a fine market, in the mold of the others out there that have been able to survive, some for 16 years now.

    A lot of us probably play FIFA soccer, go back and play the 2007 version with 12 MLS teams and tell me 19 teams in a few years doesn’t seem less minor league. You can’t and if MLS gets to 30 markets they can survive in, the league will be getting to being perceived as big time.

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  17. I know that it’s totally not fair, but I can’t help but compare Philly and their fanbase to Seattle. The Sounders are the gold standard of excellence when it comes to MLS clubs and expansion teams from now on will have tough standards to live up to.

    It’s not fair, but that’s just the way it is.

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  18. Most teams do not have a designated player.

    I would doubt with 10,000 season tickets they would, but how knows ?

    Is it because the teams have a DP that they draw more, or because they draw more they have a DP ?

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  19. who called anyone names? I said he was being a flake on the travel issue… anyone remotely familiar with the area realizes his excuse is about as valid as not wanting to go to a restaraunt you wanted to try because they moved down the block. PA does not equal Philly.

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  20. I’m looking over a four-leaf clover

    That I overlooked before.

    One leaf is sunshine, the second is rain,

    Third is the roses that grow in the lane.

    No need explaining, the one remaining

    Is somebody I adore.

    I’m looking over a four-leaf clover

    That I overlooked before.

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  21. way to represent your team, they should send you to negotiations… with your sharp arguing and name calling, the league minimum salary would be $100,000 a year

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  22. “all the way down in Chester”? Boy, that 15-20 minutes depending on traffic down I-95 is a KILLER. Thank God you decide to support another team… we wouldn’t be able to field a team in Philly if every fan was such a flake on travel.

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  23. You mean you live exactly half way between Philly and RB stadium? Chester is only 10 min south of Philly, sounds like you are complaining just to complain. I bet you live in Jersey.

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  24. Very disappointed that the team is not in Philly, but all the way down in Chester. I have been a PA Red Bulls fan thinking I would switch to a Philly team one day, but why bother now? It takes me just as long to get to Chester as it does Red Bull. I’m sure I’m the exception and not the rule, but I’m sorely disappointed. Go Red Bulls!

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  25. There are other sites for you to rip Philadelphia fans. Go spew your venom there. I’m looking forward to the Union because it’s difficult to get into MLS without a local interest, a team whose games I can get to easily. Jungite Aut Perite!

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  26. would you also be excited if half of America couldn’t read?… oh, bad example

    still, you shouldn’t be touting the opinion that fifty percent of your fans show the tiniest bit of class

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  27. Thats not fair. About 1/2 the Phillies’ fans have class, not much, but at least some. The Eagles and the Flyers, I have to agree. Not really sure if there are any 76er fans in Philly.

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  28. As a transplant to Philly from the Pittsburgh area, I’m just happy to finally have a professional sports team I can actually cheer for. I’m anxious to see if the “hooligan culture” Philly fans have a reputation for in other sports will carry into soccer, or if those mouth-breathing troglodytes will stay at home, frothing into their porridge.

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  29. It means I don’t have to fly to Germany just to attend a soccer match in a passionate environment– as the Union’s marketing promotions have suggested, MLS is not ready for Philadelphia!

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  30. It means my beloved MLS is one step closer to the big time. Every team added with a strong fanbase and quality stadium is a move towards stability and respectability.

    Thanks for the great team previews.

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  31. Are you guys going to chant the Rocky theme when you score? Every time i think of Philly I think of Bill Burr’s Rocky piece. Hilarious! 😀

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  32. Distance for the rivalries will be even less of an issue once the Baltimore United thing gets sorted out. Gonna be great for ny and philly fans

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  33. looking forward to seeing them in person… and happy about the world-class soccer it’s bringing to the Philly area (WC Send-off game, friendly vs. Valencia,etc)

    Getting my season tix in the mail next week!

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