Philadelphia Union

13 February 5:59 pm

The Union wrapped up their second phase of training this preseason on Thursday as the team returned home to Philadelphia after 11 days in Clearwater, Fla. With Valentine’s Day weekend off, the team will return to Clearwater for the third and final phase of preseason on Monday.

Thursday’s morning session was light with the team in a hurry to catch a 2 p.m. flight out of Tampa International. The teams were split into four groups of six and played small-sided for about an hour. The green-pinnied team looked the best, comprised of Andrew Wenger, Conor Casey, Antoine Hoppenot, Brian Carroll, Sheanon Williams and Steven Vitoria.

Speaking of Vitoria, he was introduced to the media on Wednesday. You can find that transcript here. As he told all reporters in the call, he’s excited to join MLS, as Dave Zeitlin wrote about for MLSsoccer.com:

“It’s a very attractive league that’s getting more competitive, you can tell. I’m very happy to be here and part of the Union. It’s a very successful league, and it’s going to keep growing and growing.”

Elsewhere, there is a Philadelphia Union team still playing in Florida – that’s the U16s in Orlando. They opened their second leg of the Generation Adidas with a 1-0 victory over D.C. United on Friday in the event’s first match of the day.
 

The Union will play Toronto FC tomorrow at 3 p.m. and finish the tournament against New York Red Bulls on Monday. Those two teams sit atop the group with six points each after each won their first two games in the first leg of the tournament. They Union have yet to lose in the tournament, at 1-0-2. You can check out the entire run-down of the tournament here.

Yes, it is Valentine’s Day weekend and the players have the weekend off to be with their loved ones. If you’re looking for some last minute advice (and haven’t seen it yet), check out Jimmy McLaughlin and Antoine Hoppenot’s take on the holiday.

And there’s too many to share, but if you haven’t tried #SoccerGrams yet, get into them. Maurice Edu has been a favorite (there's a lot you can -- cough -- edu with his name), including two here, one submitted by a fan:

 

#SoccerGrams

A photo posted by Philadelphia Union (@philaunion) on

 

And Andrew Wenger:

Alright, enough with the love. The weekend off will be a nice break, but it will be much appreciated. The Union will play four games in 11 days starting with the Costa Rica U-23 National Team on Wednesday, Feb. 18. They'll finish it up with either a consolation or championship game in the IMG Tournament on Feb. 28. The team flies back in Clearwater Monday afternoon and we won’t be returning to Philly until March 1. Then, it’ll be less than a week until Opening Day. Hope you're ready.

Finally if you haven’t seen it, check out this cool timelapse from Bill Strobel chalking up  his new design in the Union club:

 

Bill Strobel chalking up a new design in the Union club. #PureTalent

A video posted by Philadelphia Union (@philaunion) on

 

Contact Philadelphia Union press officer Chris Winkler at cwinkler@philadelphiaunion.com.

Have a question or a comment? Leave it below.

 

 

13 February 10:46 am
Want to win a date to the home opener for you and your Valentine? Send us a picture on Twitter or Instagram (@philaunion) and use #UnionWinADate for a chance to win!
 
 

Along those lines, remember last year's #SoccerGrams? Well, they are back for Valentine's Day. Celebrate with us by sharing your best soccer-related Valentine's Day Cards. Some of our awesome fans have already started sending in theirs. We will be sending out ours as well, so be on the look out! Head over here for more information.
 
12 February 4:33 pm

Philadelphia Union will recgonize two season ticket members every Friday as we continue to countdown to the home opener. If you are interested in being involved in our #STMSpotlight please email: contests@philadelphiaunion.com.

This week we have two wonderful and dedicated season ticket members, the Klemmer and Jarrett family! 

The Klemmer Family 

 

What are you most excited about for the 2015 season?

  • Watching the team develop under the leadership of Coach Curtin.

What made you want to Re-Doop?

  • I can't imagine not Re-dooping! I started counting the days to First Kick after the last game.

Who is your favorite player and why?

  • My son Paul and I are big Nogueira fans, while my youngest wears #29 - Hoppenot. I think we love those two players for their energy on the pitch.

What is your favorite memory at PPL Park?

  • My favorite memories are watching my boys walk the players out - especially when James walked with Henry at the All-Star game and Paul with Torres in 2011.

The Jarrett Family

What are you most excited about for the 2015 season?

  • Just getting the season started, winning

What made you want to Re-Doop?

  • The vibe during the games, and our family tradition since opening day.

Who is your favorite player and why?

  • Maurice Edu - he brought something special to the Union.

What is your favorite memory at PPL Park?

  • The opening day of PPL.

 

12 February 11:13 am

Here are the results of Round Three: Round Four is coming up quickly. Vote or tweet your answer to @philaunion #SpotTheBall. There will be a new set of photos posted each day for the rest of the week. Correct answers will be revealed tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. 

Previous Rounds

Round One - Answers
Round Two- Answers

Photo credit: Sideline Photos, Greg Carroccio (photos from 2014)

 

 

 

11 February 11:23 am

This might waste about 10 minutes of your life, but it's totally worth it. Vote or tweet your answer to @philaunion #SpotTheBall. There will be a new set of photos posted each day for the rest of the week. Correct answers will be revealed tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. 

Previous Rounds

Round One - Answers
Round Two- Answers

Photo credit: Sideline Photos, Greg Carroccio (photos from 2014)

11 February 11:00 am

How'd you do on round two of #SpotTheBall? Check out the answers below.

A new set of photos will be revealed this afternoon. Make sure to vote or  tweet your answer to @philaunion #SpotTheBallCorrect answers will be revealed tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. 

Previous Rounds

Round One - Answers

Photo credit: Sideline Photos, Greg Carroccio (photos from 2014)

 

 

 

10 February 10:36 am

So... Day One of spot the ball might've been a little easy. We're hoping this round will be a little more challenging. Each photo has a poll where you can record your answer. You can also tweet your answer to @philaunion #SpotTheBall. There will be a new set of photos each day for the entire week!  Correct answers will be revealed tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. 

Previous Rounds
Round One - Answers

Photo credit: Sideline Photos, Greg Carroccio (photos from 2014)

10 February 10:26 am

Spot the ball day one answers are now revealed. Check out how you did below.

There will be a new set of photos today at 12:00 p.m.  You can also tweet your answer to @philaunion #SpotTheBall

Photo credit: Sideline Photos, Greg Carroccio (photos from 2014)

 

 

 

 

 

 

10 February 10:11 am

In anticipation for the home opener, we're bringing you photos of the Union in action, but there's a trick. We've hidden the ball. Now it's up to you to spot where it is. Each photo has a poll where you can record your answer. You can also tweet your answer to @philaunion #SpotTheBall. There will be a new set of photos each day for the entire week! 

The correct answers will be revealed tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. 
Good luck...

Photo credit: Sideline Photos, Greg Carroccio (photos from 2014)

 

 

 

09 February 5:18 pm

So everyone, how was your Monday? Ours was pretty good.

Yes, 6-foot-5 center back Steven Vitoria is officially a member of your Philadelphia Union. Vitoria was born and raised in Toronto, Canada, but moved to Portugal when he was 18-years-old to advance his professional soccer career.

He’s now 28 and has been with Portuguse powerhouse Benfica for the past 18 months. He gained notoriety during the 2011-12 season when he led Estoril to a Portuguese second-division title. The following year, he helped guide the team to a fifth place finish in Primeira Liga and into Europa League Qualifying. The ensuing offseason he joined Benfica.

Along with the rest of his new teammates, Vitoria and the Union were back on the training grounds Monday morning to jump start their second week in Clearwater, Fla. Following Saturday night’s loss to Jacksonville, the team bus arrived back at hotel shortly after midnight and Jim Curtin gave his team the day off Sunday.

It was a perfect day to recharge the batteries, especially for yours truly.

But first, let’s recap some of the weekend. C.J. Sapong took over our Twitter account on the way to Jacksonville. Fans could directly reach him by using #AskCJ and, as expected, he was a beast. Really, what more would you expect from this guy? Among the litany of questions he answered, he might, just might, have a date circled on his calendar (looking at you, Sporting Kansas City).

And there was also this. We're sorry, Andre Blake.

 

I'm sure Dre will be out for revenge. Elsewhere, a couple of fun videos you may have missed over the weekend included some behind the scenes shots from Media Day. Maurice Edu is in the middle of it, as usual. Jimmy McLaughlin and Antoine Hoppenot had a pretty good time, too. And you saw a snippet of this in last week’s Daily Doop, but here’s some video of Andrew Wenger testing his hand in broadcasting with Zach Pfeffer.

Saturday, the Union lost 3-1 to Armada FC, although I’m sure you already knew that. Yes, we know all of you out there in Doop-land aren’t happy. Guess what – neither are we.

Good news: it’s one preseason game and there are still five more to get it right. The first step in that direction is tomorrow night against Tampa Bay Rowdies, tomorrow, at 6 p.m. at our Spring Training home, Joe DiMaggio Complex.

Preparation for that started today, with the longest single-training session of the preseason so far. After typical fitness and passing work, teams were split up for 4v4, 6v6 and 8v8 games for over an hour. Vitoria spent much of the day with the first team and was teamed up with Ethan White during the 8v8. There were a few other highlights including this goal from Sapong:

 

Love the finish from @bigafrika88

A video posted by Philadelphia Union (@philaunion) on

The team had a lifting session in the afternoon and will have a relatively quiet day tomorrow morning. It looks like there will be a light run in the morning, and the team will be ready to go against Tampa Bay for a 6 p.m. kickoff. Follow our live updates from Joe DiMaggio Complex.

After Tuesday wraps up, the team's first phase of Spring Training in Clearwater is just about over. The team will have two more training sessions, Wednesday and Thursday, respectively, and will fly back to Philadelphia Thursday afternoon. The guys will get the rest of the weekend off before flying back to Clearwater Monday morning.

A few more things I have to push because, frankly, I just like all of them. Have you tried our spot the ball challenge? I went 0-for-3. The answeres will be revealed tomorrow at 10 a.m. Also, a new mic'd up is out with Curtin, White and Danny Cruz. By far my favorite part is Austin Berry having a little fun with our audio guys:

 

Here's a sneak peak of the new mic'd up video during spring training. Full video will be released today.

A video posted by Philadelphia Union (@philaunion) on

Contact Philadelphia Union press officer Chris Winkler at cwinkler@philadelphiaunion.com.