Sons of Ben

Daily Doop: Twas' the night before Orlando, Auto trainin' it and No Fee Fridays

So what can we expect in the Union’s first match of 2013?

It’s anyone’s guess, but know whatever you see there will be a method to the madness.

And judging by what has transpired over the two and a half weeks of preseason training, we are feeling pretty confident that “madness” won't be the operative word.

The Union takes on USL Pro side Orlando City SC for the third time in as many seasons Saturday at 6 p.m. ( and in doing so will play their first opponent besides each other this season.

If you are expecting to see a show in which the definitive starting 11 for the 2013 season will be unveiled you’re probably going to be disappointed. Union boss John Hackworth already said each of his club’s six preseason matches will serve to show just how much his young experience corps has retained from the very detailed lesson plan the technical staff used this season. With that said, it's likely different players will showcase at a bunch of different positions, formations (and jerseys) over the course of the next two weeks.

Literally a lesson plan…in a binder.

We know based on Hackworth’s Wednesday afternoon press conference there’ll be a bit of a wait to see how forward Aaron Wheeler and homegrown midfielder Cristhian Hernandez will look as both are nursing injuries. However, Hackworth and Co. have 31 other players at their disposal so who he’ll trot out is anyone’s guess.

““We have six games here and what we want to do is slowly build up all the players so that we feel they are ready to play 90 minutes,” Hackworth said Wednesday. “We want to make sure that we go into that March 2 and that everything we have worked on [this preseason] is accounted for. The games are a really good evaluation tool and in general, we are looking to instill what we have worked on at both sides of the ball mainly on attack and know their position defensively and when we lose the ball.”

Moving on…

This post is written from Amtrak’s Auto Train which was steaming through Virginia. The picture to the left were the passengers that accompanied yours truly on the 17 hour train ride assuredly making me and my partner in crime for the trip Union video production coordinator Nick Rotondi the youngest on the trip by easily thirty years.

Amid the smell of Ben Gay and Metamucil we are dreaming of palm trees, and soccer on lush fields. Since we know that images of the obscure is all the rage since the dawn of Instagram, we tried to get a photo of the Philadelphia Union van that’s accompanying us on this trip getting loaded into the cart, but they drove it on before we had a chance to snap a shot.

So we hope that image of some really friendly geriatrics suffice.

Couple of reminders…

We will host a LIVE stream of tomorrow night’s match on in addition to all of the matches in the Disney Pro Soccer Classic. Also, if you need additional information on Orlando City SC, Union writer Kevin Kinkead broke down a series history and more facts in this article.  This is also the second week of our “No Fee Fridays” campaign running during the month of February.  Basically, we are waiving ticket fees to the home games on March 2 against Sporting Kansas City (4 p.m.) and March 16 against New England (5 p.m.). Log onto our ticket site (, enter code NOFEES13 and select the game(s) you want to purchase your tickets today and avoid per ticket fees – savings of up to $10 per ticket!

Last but not least for those eager to check out our third kit...

Come meet your 2013 Philadelphia Union at our newest Philadelphia Union Pub Partner – Xfinity Live! on Feb. 26. The Meet the Team event is open to the public, but only 2013 Union full season ticket holders have the exclusive access from 7-7:30 p.m. and can meet your 2013 Philadelphia Union for the duration of the event. It'll also be at this event we'll break out our new third kit created by adidas that everyone has been yearning for.

Trust me when I say, it's LEGIT.

Anyway, enjoy hope you get a chance to see Saturday's match and don’t allow Mother Nature to keep you from making the most of the weekend too.

Contact Union writer Kerith Gabriel at


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