When Philadelphia hosts the United States vs. Turkey on May 29th, the final U.S. match before the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, Philadelphia Union fans will already be used to piling into Lincoln Financial Field to root for their home side.
The national team match will take place after Philadelphia Union’s Inaugural Home Opener against D.C. United on April 10th and the club’s second and final home game at Lincoln Financial Field against FC Dallas on May 15th. The match against Turkey marks the USA’s first meeting against the 2002 FIFA World Cup third-place finishers on home soil.
“This game is a testament not only to the great local soccer community, but the entire region’s support of soccer,” said Philadelphia Union President Tom Veit. “We’re honored to be part of the community and to host the U.S. Men’s National Team’s sendoff to South Africa."
It’s no coincidence that Philadelphia Union’s first MLS campaign will kick off between two national team appearances in Philadelphia within a 10 month span. After all, the passion for soccer in the region compelled MLS to grant Philadelphia a team. That passion was fueled when soccer fans in the region found out they’d soon have a local team to stand behind. And that same passion played a large role in convincing U.S. Soccer to give Philly fans the chance to send off the national team fittingly.
Soccer fans rejoiced when Philadelphia was awarded a Major League Soccer team on February 28th, 2008. Over a year later, Philadelphia Union was unveiled as the identity of MLS’ 16th team. But what may have been lost in the excitement is the impact Philadelphia’s rise to prominence in the soccer world has made on international soccer returning to Philadelphia.
Prior to the CONCACAF Gold Cup quarterfinal doubleheader on July 18th, 2009, the U.S. Men’s National Team hadn’t played an international match in Philadelphia since 1968, when the U.S. lost 4-0 to Israel on Sept. 25, 1968. Most recently, the USA captured a 2-1 overtime victory against Panama in the quarterfinals of the 2009 CONCACAF Gold Cup. Buoyed by a boisterous crowd of 32,000, the USA came from behind to defeat their Central American rivals in the only Men's National Team game to date at Lincoln Financial Field.
After a drought that lasted over 40 years, Philadelphia soccer fans will now be treated to two U.S. National Team games within a year’s time. And May 29th won’t just be any game.
In addition to having the opportunity to send the U.S. squad off to South Africa, the recently announced tune-up will also be the last time the U.S. Men’s National Team will play prior to FIFA’s decision on the United States’ World Cup bid for 2018 or 2022.
Philadelphia remains a strong contender to host World Cup games if the U.S. is awarded the tournament, meaning Philadelphia soccer fans are being provided with another invaluable opportunity to show the USA Bid Committee the type of passion that exists in the region. The strong crowd that turned out for the CONCACAF Gold Cup quarterfinals in July certainly made a statement. Now it’s time to make another.
“We are particularly excited about playing our final match in the United States prior to the World Cup in Philadelphia, a city rich in soccer tradition,” said U.S. head coach Bob Bradley. “Lincoln Financial Field has proven to be an excellent venue for international soccer, and the fans have shown tremendous support for the sport. We anticipate a fantastic environment in our last game before heading to South Africa.”
Kickoff at Lincoln Financial Field is set for 2 p.m. ET, and the match will be broadcast live on ESPN2 and Galavision. Fans can also follow the match live on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker and at twitter.com/ussoccer. The match will be part of a two-game Send-Off Series against two of the traditionally stronger teams from Europe, as the U.S. also meets Czech Republic on May 25 at a site to be determined.
Philadelphia Union Founding Members will have an opportunity to participate in a special pre-sale, which will begin on February 22nd at 12:00 p.m. ET. Details of the pre-sale will be sent via email.
Tickets for the May 29th match start at $25 and go on sale to the public Wednesday, February 24th at 10 a.m. ET through ussoccer.com, by phone at 1-800-745-3000, at all Ticketmaster ticket centers throughout the Delaware Valley (including Macy’s, FYE and Boscov’s), and the Lincoln Financial Field ticket office (open Monday-Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.). Groups of 20 or more can obtain an order form at ussoccer.com or call 312-528-1290. Ultimate Fan Tickets (special VIP packages which include a premium ticket, a custom made official U.S. national team jersey with name and number, VIP access to the field before and after the game, and other unique benefits) are also available exclusively through ussoccer.com.
The U.S. holds a 0-1-1 record against Turkey, who made a memorable run to the semifinals of the 2008 European Championship. The two sides' most recent meeting came during the 2003 FIFA Confederations Cup, with the Turks collecting a 2-1 victory in Lyon, France