Some younger players could have been nervous playing in such an important game.
Not Alejandro Moreno.
This was nothing new for him.
The 30-year-old Philadelphia Union forward has competed in MLS Cups and important games for the Venezuelan National Team. So participating in the first-ever home game last Saturday against D.C. United before nearly 35,000 screaming fans at Lincoln Financial Field was anything but overwhelming.
Actually, Moreno reveled in the atmosphere.
“It was fantastic,” said Moreno, who assisted on Sebastien Le Toux’s first two goals in the 3-2 victory. “The energy in the stadium was great. We could feel it as players on the field. It gave us a push. I think it made me focus even better. I wasn’t nervous. I was just excited to be playing finally for our great home fans. I think we kept our composure when we had to and were able to get the job done.”
Moreno and Le Toux, specifically, were in sync from the start.
“We are really accustomed to playing with each other,” Moreno said. “We are playing quite well with each other and pretty dynamic going forward. It’s important when you have guys like Fred and Roger (Torres) coming from behind. It makes our team very dynamic in the final third.”
Having this type of veteran leadership is vital on any club.
When Philadelphia Union was pieced together, Team Manager Peter Nowak understood the importance of mixing young players with savvy veterans.
“I have learned a lot from Alejandro,” said rookie forward Danny Mwanga. “He has been around a long time and knows so much about the game. I’ve asked him questions, and he has been very helpful to me.”
17-year-old Jack McInerney agreed.
“Coming in this league for the first time, we know we have to learn,” he said. “If you come in and think you know everything, you won’t get better. You have to have the right attitude. I think Alejandro has been a great leader. He’s a great teammate to have.”
Moreno helped the club get three huge points against D.C. United.
The goal now is to try and get three more Thursday night at Toronto.
“We need to keep playing smart and playing composed,” Moreno said. “We got a big win against D.C. United. We need to play 90 minutes of composed soccer against Toronto. I think every game we play, we will continue to improve. As a veteran, I will do everything I can to help the younger players along. I thought they were great for their first home game. We, as a team, have so much talent here.”