Greetings from your friendly neighborhood BGN member, PE!
Before you leave and say something like: "wtf is this bs, soccer sux!!!!" or "o" or "why is this guy rambling on about soccer? THIS IS AN EAGLZ BLOG!!!1", please realize that this is an attempt to save both all of you and myself from the "lockout madness". Seriously, we're running out of things to talk about, and I thought this post would be a fresh change of pace.
My intentions of creating this FanPost are simple: Give the Union a chance, even if you're not a big soccer fan. With all this lockout BS taking place, along with the fact that the Flyers + Sixers' seasons are over, now is an appropriate time to start paying attention to the Union. They're actually doing pretty well so far this season, and they're leading the Eastern Conference with a total of 17 points. (Click here for the full MLS standings)
Assisting you in your newly acquired appreciation for the Union (hopefully) is the Union's SB Nation site: the Brotherly Game (tBG).
Now, I realize not all of us here live in/around Philly and that not all of us consider ourselves Philly sports fans (because some of us like other MLB teams, NBA teams, etc.). I still encourage you to support the Union, of course, but if not them then maybe you should consider taking an interest in your local MLS team instead.
Let's set the record straight: In the 20+ years I have been alive prior to this year, I have never considered myself a soccer fan at any level. I never played the sport, never really watched it (save for some World Cup games), and thought it was a dumb sport, to be quite honest. Football (American Football, that is) always has, and always will be my favorite sport. That being said, I had a friend in high-school that played soccer. One day, we were talking about video games, and he told me that I should purchase a copy of FIFA since I told him I liked most sports games. I was really skeptical at first, but after purchasing it and getting to play it some more, I started to appreciate the game and the sport more than I had in the past. I also took the initiative to go to some of my friend's little brother's soccer games that took place at my high-school, and found myself enjoying the sport more than I ever had. My interest increased even more when I started watching the World Cup, and then the English Premier League. I had remembered hearing something about Philadelphia having a soccer called the "Union" last year, but I didn't really follow them at all. So, with my increased interest in the sport of soccer, I decided that I'd try to start following the Union this year more closely than I had the previous year. So far this season, I've been able to watch a couple games on TV and follow the Union through the Union's SB Nation site, Brotherly Game.
This past Saturday (May 21, 2011) I had a chance to go a Philadelphia Union match with a couple friends. I got the tickets from my boss who happens to have season tickets to the Union. We didn't get the opportunity to tailgate because we were running a little late, but it was still a really enjoyable time.
Here are some pictures that I took:
(View of the field from my seat)
(View of "The River End", where Philadelphia Union mega-fans the "Sons of Ben" sit)
(View of gameplay)
As you can see from the pictures, there isn't really a bad seat in the park. The atmosphere was great: good weather, and a great crowd to go along with an exciting game. Previously mentioned super-fans the "Sons of Ben" lead the crowd in chants and cheering. I loved the experience more than I thought I was going to, and I look forward to going back in the future (hopefully)!
Union player Carlos Ruiz (yes, he has the same name as the catcher for the Phillies) made an amazing goal:
Here's some general highlights from the game itself:
The Philadelphia Union's goal song "DOOP"
And lastly, for the Brotherly Game's game-review, click here!
I hope you enjoyed my off-topic post!
Your friendly neighborhood Philly sports fan,