With 10 days to go until the Home Opener, Philadelphia Union is looking to make a strong first impression in front of the hometown fans. With a bye week, the club has plenty of time to draw from the experience of its first game and prepare for a match against Eastern Conference rival D.C. United.
A lot went well despite the 2-0 loss last Thursday, especially in the early going when the two sides were playing 11-men apiece. Perhaps even more importantly, the club is already beginning to develop a distinct mentality. Play hard and battle together.
“I think we came in with the mindset we’re going to be tough, give everything we have,” said Goalkeeper Chris Seitz after the Seattle game. “We came out and we told ourselves we’re going to be hard to beat. The first 15-20 minutes, we controlled the game and did exactly what we wanted.
“We came in at halftime obviously a man down and we told ourselves, ‘listen, we have 45 minutes, let’s take a lot out of this and come out here with a zero in the second half’. And to our credit we did just that and did as well as we could with a man down.”
Seitz wasn’t the only first-year starter to be pleased with the way the young club handled adversity for more than half the match.
“It was hard, we were down a man and we had to stay together, stay focused,” said Forward Danny Mwanga, who was playing in the first game of his professional career. “It was definitely a hard game, especially playing away...you’re always trying to stick together, battle hard and I’m very proud of my team.”
Early signs of a mentally tough and physically fit team should translate into tough match-ups for the club’s opponents in the future, beginning with April 10th. The two characteristics should be especially pleasing to Team Manager Peter Nowak, a man who values both immensely. Considers them necessary, even.
“He just told us to keep our heads up, we have a lot of work to do in front of us,” Mwanga explained. “(Seattle) was the first game. Just stay focused and keep working hard. We’re just trying to play smart, shut out the mistakes and play together as a team.”
"We’re one game in, we’re not going to panic,” added Seitz. “We’ll go back to the drawing board and work hard. We’ve been working hard all of preseason and we’re going to continue to work hard and get better. I think in all aspects we can get better, sharper. We’ll go out there and be ready for the D.C. game.”
The immediate goal is clear to everyone. Clear to Philadelphia Union’s players, clear to the Technical Staff, and certainly clear to the fans.
Beat D.C. in 10 days.
Home Opener Tickets Still Available
Call 877-21-UNION to purchase discounted group tickets (10 or more) for Philadelphia Union's Home Opener vs D.C. United on Saturday, April 10, 6:00pm.
CLICK HERE to purchase individual tickets for the match.
CLICK HERE to view a seating map for Philadelphia Union matches at Lincoln Financial Field, along with individual and group ticket prices.