Five things to expect from PPL Park Opener

Going to PPL Park on Sunday? Here’s some of what you’ll see

Sunday’s christening of PPL Park will
be a momentous occasion for all Philadelphia soccer fans.

The eagerly anticipated match between
the
Philadelphia Union and the
Seattle Soudners has been circled on the schedule for months. Sure, the Union
have played two “home” games, at Lincoln Financial Field, but this building is
theirs. Their house. And as they say, if the house is a-rockin’, don’t bother knockin’.

I’ll be one of the lucky ones in
attendance and knowing what Philly sports fans are like and how the team has
been performing, here are five random observations, in no particular order, of
what we all can expect on Sunday.

▪  A whole lot of SoBs: You all know who
the Sons of Ben are by now, the loony, loud and unrelentingly dedicated
supporters who don the navy, gold and light blue every week to cheer on their
Union. Over 5,000 strong, the SoB have their own section in the stadium, not to
mention their own dedicated entrance. Located at the River End of the stadium,
this group of fans will stand the whole match, will provide a large portion of
the noise and will definitely be the most crazed.

Freddie
Ljungberg
will get booed…and bad: Philadelphia fans always need someone to hate.
Like the sun in the day and the moon at night, it’s just the way things go.
Ljungberg raised the quick pulse of Peter Nowak at First Kick this year, as the
Philly manager accused the Swede of simulation at certain vital points in the
match between the Union and the Sounders. Playing in front of the Philly fans
for the first time, Ljungberg may think he’s at White Hart Lane during his days
at Arsenal.

▪ The Union will score first: I’m not usually
one for these types of predictions, but I’m convinced that the fans on hand at
PPL Park on Sunday will virtually “suck in” the first goal of the match.
Cliché, yes, but it holds true in this case. Nowak’s side should come out
strong as well and I’d be very surprised if they didn’t dominate the match’s
opening stages.

▪ A beautiful new stadium: Isn’t this the
obvious one? PPL Park itself is being heralded as one of the nicest
soccer-specific stadiums in the league. A lovely waterfront setting with a
river-spanning bridge cascading over it, PPL Park is placed wonderfully and
should give the soccer fans in the region something to look forward to every
time the team has a home game.

▪ The same thing—another 12 times: This isn’t a
one-off, people. The Union will drop their bags and let their hair down in this
place and will call it home for years to come. There are 12 more home games to
come after the Seattle match, and every team that visits can expect a rowdy
crowd, the star players getting booed, an energetic, in-your-face team and a
lovely place for it to all happen. You’re welcome.

With the match just 24 hours away, we can sit back and enjoy
what’s about to come as it’s definitely going to be something quite special.