CHESTER, Pa. – First came Scottish giants Celtic. Then it was worldwide powerhouse Manchester United. Now, as the MLS season gets into its final third, the Philadelphia Union will welcome Chivas de Guadalajara to town for an international friendly.
The 11-time Mexican Primera champions will be at PPL Park on Wednesday night to take on the Union in another learning experience on the heels of an already busy summer.
“Anytime you play a good, quality team, it’s always a good time,” Union captain Danny Califf said. “It’s good to get guys minutes who wouldn’t necessarily always get minutes. It’s also a good measuring stick. We did well against Celtic and we did well against Manchester United, so those are things we can have confidence in going forward.”
Coach John Hackworth is relishing the opportunity to test his players against such intriguing and unusual competition. Chivas de Guadalajara bring a style not typically found in MLS.
“I think it’s going to be fantastic to have Chivas here because they’re very different than the teams we see in the league,” Hackworth said. “We played them already in preseason, but it was a very different atmosphere – a preseason game on a practice field.
"When our team plays any game at PPL Park, we all get excited about it. I think stylistically, it could turn out to be a really fun game to watch.”
He also realizes that it’s a chance to turn over the roster and get some of the reserve players into the game to play against a tough international opponent.
“It’s also an opportunity to give more guys some game minutes,” Hackworth said. “If you look how we played against Celtic and Manchester United, we gave our whole roster at least a half in that game and we will continue to do that, because that’s the way you grow and give guys experience.”
Forward Alejandro Moreno said he’s ready for the test and understands it’s a necessary one.
“It’s another exercise for us and another challenge,” said Moreno. “We’re told about the friendlies we’re going to play and we look forward to the different types of competition. It’s going to be a nice experience for all of us, but it is part of our job.”