It’s fair to say the Philadelphia Union have finally made themselves at home. All the elements are in place – colors, squad, stadium – and the club can safely say there are no more expansion-themed events on the horizon.
Except, perhaps, for one. There’s still that first-ever and long-awaited home stand, which kicks off Saturday night against San Jose.
“It still doesn't quite seem real,” said Bryan James, president of the Union’s supporter group, the Sons of Ben. “Until this coming week, we haven't had a home stand or a chance to see the stadium under different circumstances.”
The four matches against San Jose, Toronto (July 17), New England (July 31) and Columbus (Aug. 5), highlight a busy month at PPL Park, which will also play host to a high-profile friendly against Celtic FC (July 14).
Sitting in the stands for those matches to watch the Union is something all Philadelphia soccer fans have been hungry for since the team was announced back in 2008.
Now that it’s a reality, they couldn’t be happier.
“I am most looking forward to being in the River End with my SoB family,” said Sons of Ben member Jeremy Sharpe. “Just being in the stadium with these great Union fans. We all witnessed how we can help lift our side to victory. I can't wait to do it for weeks and years to come.”
The Sons of Ben inhabit their own section at PPL Park, nicknamed The River End. Area fan Mark Yesilevskiy watched parts of the team’s historic win over Seattle on June 27 from the section, and was wholly impressed with the view from the stadium’s most frenzied section.
“The River End was amazing,” Yesilevskiy said. “The view behind the section, looking out at the rest of the stadium and the Commodore Barry Bridge. The fans were unreal and I've never had that much fun cheering on a team.”