Since the opening training session, Nowak has been emphasizing and re-emphasizing the fact that the club must stay on an even keel. They can’t get too high after a win or too low after a loss.
Falling 2-0 in the season opener at Seattle last Thursday hasn’t hindered their progress at all if you ask the players.
“I think we did well,” said midfielder Andrew Jacobson. “We did a lot of what we wanted to do. We lost the game. But we’re going to come back and work hard. We’re going to get better and improve every day in practice.”
So far, so good.
“We’re not going to back off,” Jacobson said. “No matter who we’re playing against, we have to play our game. I think we’re going to be a tough team to play against.”
The loss to Seattle Sounders FC was tough for many reasons. It was especially tough for Toni Stahl, who was given a second yellow card in the 40th minute and then sent off to the locker room. Stahl jumped into the back of Fredy Montero as they both went up for a loose ball, resulting in an ejection. It was probably a fair card for the referee to hand out, although the first was far more questionable judging by the video replay.
Regardless, it wasn’t exactly the debut the rookie had envisioned.
“We’ve just got to learn, me especially, from our mistakes,” Stahl said. “We have to move forward.”
That’s exactly what Stahl has been doing in practice since First Kick.
“I know I have to keep practicing hard and prove myself to the coaches,” Stahl added.
The workmanlike mentality of this club won’t change. In fact, it will likely get stronger from here on out.
The players are hungry to prove themselves.
“For our home fans, we can’t wait to get started,” Jacobson said. “We want to right (the ship) and show the fans what we can do. It was a good crowd in Seattle, but everyone in Philly is really excited for the opener.”
Having played in such a tough environment in the opener will benefit Philadelphia Union going forward. For one, it will prepare the players for other loud stadiums this season, the loudest of which may very well be the Home Opener. It will be also serve as a reminder of how the players must come together against all odds.