Union Excited To Face Celtic Wednesday
Technically, it doesn’t count in the Major League Soccer standings.
Don’t for one second think, however, that Philadelphia Union’s match against Celtic F.C. Wednesday at 8:00 p.m. at PPL Park isn’t important.
The Union won’t get three points for a win and won’t be any worse off in the standings with a loss. But a good showing against a storied international club will go a long way towards boosting the Union’s confidence for this weekend’s match against Toronto following a frustrating loss to San Jose.
“When we put together the schedule, we wanted games like these because we knew it would be good for us,” said CEO & Operating Partner Nick Sakiewicz. “Playing Valencia, though Valencia dropped out and we added Celtic, along with Manchester United will only make our club better. You don’t have an opportunity every day to face clubs like these.”
Celtic F.C. has won 34 Scottish Cups and 42 League Championships during its storied 122-year history. The Scottish side most recently finished in second place in the Scottish Premier League while boasting some of the top talent in the world.
Celtic F.C. will become the first club outside of MLS to play at PPL Park. Manchester United will battle the Union July 21 at Lincoln Financial Field.
PPL Park will be the first of three stops on the Hoops’ United States tour, which also includes a match against Manchester United in Toronto on July 16 and another vs the Seattle Sounders on July 18.
The Union understand that league matches are of utmost importance. But they also realize how vital the match will be against Celtic F.C.
“I think it’s exciting to play clubs like Celtic and Man U,” said midfielder Fred. “We will become better playing them. I am excited.”
So is defender Jordan Harvey.
“We know what’s in front of us in terms of how important these home matches are in MLS,” Harvey said. “The Celtic match and the Man U match are just as important to us. We want to win. Even more important than that, we want to keep improving. I feel very, very lucky and fortunate to be able to play in these types of games during our expansion season. It’s only going to help us.”
It’s going to help Celtic F.C., too.
“Celtic Football Club has enjoyed many successful visits to the United States and we are sure that our match in Philadelphia will be another great occasion,” said Celtic Chief Executive Peter Lawwell. “We know Philadelphia Union is a fantastic club and is also drawing some great opposition in the form of Manchester United, so I am sure Union supporters will have some fantastic matches to look forward to this summer.
“We are a club which enjoys a magnificent backing worldwide and we are in the fortunate position of having many supporters across America. We are looking forward very much to meeting Philadelphia Union and hope on this visit to make many more new friends in the United States.”
Once the match starts, it will be all business. Both clubs will be playing with high intensity.
Three points or no three points, this match is a landmark moment for the Union organization.
“We’re going one game at a time, but when we’re finished playing San Jose, believe me, all of our focus will be on Celtic,” defender Danny Califf said before Saturday’s match. “We won’t be thinking ahead to Toronto, or taking it lightly because it’s an exhibition. We’re going to treat it like it’s the most important game of the season.”