Before the Philadelphia Union hosted Real Salt Lake last Friday, Danny Cruz glanced around PPL Park.
He liked what he saw.
When Cruz was announced among the Union’s starting 11, the midfielder liked what he heard.
Cruz liked everything about his home debut, though it ended in a scoreless draw. For the newest member of the Union, it was a day to cherish.
“I haven’t been here that long at all, but I feel so comfortable and I was overwhelmed with the fan support,” Cruz said, who was recently acquired from D.C. United for Lionard Pajoy. “The fans are incredible here and I was honored to get that kind of ovation from them. I glanced around the stadium and saw everyone decked out in Union gear. It was a great sight.
“It’s been such a whirlwind experience and everything has happened so quick. To be wearing this uniform makes me proud, and I’m going to do all I can to help the club win a whole lot of games.”
Since Cruz joined the Union, he has played in a pair of games. The first one came in a draw at D.C. United.
In between, he has continued to train with his new teammates.
It’s a process and Cruz is fully aware of that fact.
“I kind of jumped right in, and that was a good thing,” Cruz said. “I haven’t felt uncomfortable at all. These guys make you feel at home right away. I think every day here will help. Every game, I have the chance to compete in will improve my comfort zone. I think it’s natural to feel better the longer you’re somewhere.
“We have a young team here and we’re learning together every day. I’m thrilled to be in the middle of it here. I’m honored to be here wearing this badge, even though it’s been a short amount of time. I’m really, really excited about this club.”
The 22-year-old Cruz is anxiously anticipating the remainder of the season, which continues Wednesday night against the Columbus Crew at PPL Park.
“I know we’re on the right path with points in the last two matches,” said Cruz, who has five goals and eight assists in 69 career games with the Houston Dynamo, D.C. United and the Union. “We have a tremendous amount of talent on this club, and I’m excited to see how it all plays out. This club works extremely hard every day, and I’m going to do exactly that for the organization and its great fans.
“I was overwhelmed playing in this stadium, and I can’t wait for the next one. It’s an incredible experience.”