Set Pieces: Beckham-Mania Sweeps Philly

Galaxy star attends no-hitter, eats $100 cheesesteak, plus more news

When David Beckham comes to town, people simply take notice.
Sure, the world’s most famous athlete can strike a ball with the very best of
them, but far more than ability on the pitch dictates the relentless media
attention heaped on the Brit. Philadelphia is no different, and the
midfielder’s every move has been chronicled leading up to Thursday’s sold out,
nationally televised match at PPL Park.

Union broadcast partner 6abc has the story.

Most notably, the Twitter world lit up when Beckham was
spotted at Game 1 of the NLDS
between the Philadelphia Phillies and Cincinnati
Reds. Phillies fans may
want to keep the former Manchester United and Real Madrid superstar in town a
bit longer after Roy Halladay's historic no-hitter to start off the
postseason.

Beckham was also seen practicing at the University of
Pennsylvania
and chowing down on a $100 cheesesteak at Barclay Prime. Spend it like Beckham, huh?

And Landon Donovan? The U.S. National Team star asked fans to
help him decide between Pat’s and Geno’s
, then ultimately decided on Jim’s.
While on the subject of Donovan, check out this hilarious video of NBA
star and Vancouver Whitecaps co-owner Steve Nash responding to a FIFA ’11 challenge
from the Galaxy star
.

The Union recognize Beckham’s skill and star-power, but on
the pitch he’s only one of 11.

And for all the attention that Beckham receives, even the player himself acknowledges that it won't all be of the friendly variety from Philadelphia fans.

More than anything else, the Union players are taking
Thursday’s match as an opportunity to prove the contention that their record
doesn’t accurately indicate the club’s quality
.

The quality of the Union's fan base isn't in question, and Beckham has taken notice. Donovan too, who says that having a team in Philadelphia is a "no brainer."

Philadelphia fans have quickly embraced leading scorer Sebastien Le Toux, and for good reason. At least according to one poll, Le Toux is worthy of the MVP award (as of this writing) despite the Union falling short of the playoffs.

While he's the biggest of them all, Beckham is just one of many international soccer stars to step foot in Philadelphia recently. The Philadelphia Inquirer points out that, coinciding with the Union's arrival, "the region has played host to more big soccer
games and stars in the last six months than in the last 10 years
."

One upcoming match that is reportedly lagging in the ticket sales department is the upcoming U.S. Men's National Team vs Colombia friendly at PPL Park. While a packed summer of soccer is certainly part of the issue, one writer encourages soccer fans to give the match some thought, with the long-term goal of continuing to attract the USMNT to the Philadelphia region. Tickets to the match on Tuesday, October 12, 8:00pm are available HERE.

On Wednesday night, the U.S. Women's National Team competed against China at PPL Park, finding a late equalizer from Alex Morgan to secure a 1-1 draw.

Returning to the Union front, one blogger would like to see more of Kyle Nakazawa's dangerous set pieces, while goalkeeper Brad Knighton briefly discusses Philadelphia's future on Daily News Live.

Toni Stahl hasn't had much of an opportunity to claim a regular role this season, but the midfielder says that the adjustment to MLS gets easier every day.

Another Union member who hasn't played much of late, Cristian Arrieta, is making an impact with the Puerto Rican National Team. After scoring in a 2-0 win over St. Martin on Monday, the defender helped his country keep a clean sheet on Wednesday against the Cayman Islands to claim maximum points in Group A of the Digicel Caribbean Cup.

In non-Union or MLS news, the owners of the Red Sox are pledging to remove Liverpool's debt after receiving approval from the board to purchase the club on Wednesday.

Lastly, ESPN Soccernet looks at the long road to recovery for Charlie Davies.