I am in no way a professional writer, nor do I play one at work. Fact is, I love The Union. So here’s my latest;
Standing on the edge….
I have 2 strikes against me. First one is the fact that I cheer for a Philadelphia Team. And we all know that Philly is cursed when it comes to good luck in the sports department. The exception being this year’s Villanova Men’s Basketball team. But on a technicality, they aren’t really a “Philadelphia Team”. They are from the Main Line. So, maybe they have figured out how to break this curse. If that is the case, The Philadelphia Union is ahead of them. That’s why the stadium is located in a suburb of Philadelphia. The Chester Union just sounds too industrial for me. A Philadelphia team with its field in Chester, and their farm team in Bethlehem. That is just genius. I will have to tell everyone that I support a team that is ahead of the curve. Kudos to the organization for thinking outside the box.
The second strike is that I actually enjoy watching this team. What Jim Curtin has done with this team is quite interesting, and genius. Last year, we knew we had no chance of making the playoffs. Well, as a Philadelphia fan, we always have a chance, right? Every year we go through the scenarios. “If these 5 teams all lose, and we are able to win our remaining 6 games, I think we have a shot.” But history has shown us that our chances are usually slim to none. But this year is different. We went into the season thinking we had no chance. And if you thought we would be where we are now, then please, get me a prescription to what you are taking. I can honestly say that I thought we would be 7th/8th place at this point. I realized we had some new people on the pitch, and I figured we would need time to mesh. So after the 0-2 loss to FC Dallas, I was pretty confident on my placement. And watching the squad, you could tell the communication was off. The runs weren’t precise. The passing was suspect. Like my sons first tournament in August. I could see some flashes of promise, but I knew there was a lot of work to be done.
Of course the overwhelming consensus, however, was that FC Dallas is a title contender, and that we were on the road. So that loss was considered “acceptable”. C’mon, I told you I am Philly. That’s how we handle losses. Excuses. But there is always hope. Then came wins against Columbus and New England. Holy crap! We are 2-1. We are above .500. And with an away win, and a home win against a very good team. We are on to something. As my friend Jeff Mitchell says, “We believe in Jim Curtin!” Then came a stretch of 2W’s and 2L’s, the last win coming over NYCFC. And we are in first place. Wait….What? First place after the first month and a half of soccer? This is unbelievable. The energy I felt at Talen Energy last Saturday was electric. The Sons of Ben becoming the heartbeat of the city. Are we standing on the edge of a record season? I think we are in for some fun. I think Jim and Earnie are proving us wrong. And I am OK with admitting I was wrong. This team is meshing earlier than I thought. They are a fun squad to watch.
I really think there is something special with this team. As a fan of the game for years, It does my heart wonders when I walk into the local Giant, and people actually recognize my Union gear. This could be an explosive year not only for the team, but for the organization as well. By mid-season, sell outs will be the norm down at Talen Energy. And I will be proud to be part of the fan base that this club has built. Our passion shows through. I asked Pontius how he felt about the crowd in Philadelphia. His response was “ I hated playing here as a visiting team, but being part of the team now, the crowd is fantastic.” Keep cheering Philly, great things are coming.