The Union wrapped up their second phase of training this preseason on Thursday as the team returned home to Philadelphia after 11 days in Clearwater, Fla. With Valentine’s Day weekend off, the team will return to Clearwater for the third and final phase of preseason on Monday.
Thursday’s morning session was light with the team in a hurry to catch a 2 p.m. flight out of Tampa International. The teams were split into four groups of six and played small-sided for about an hour. The green-pinnied team looked the best, comprised of Andrew Wenger, Conor Casey, Antoine Hoppenot, Brian Carroll, Sheanon Williams and Steven Vitoria.
Speaking of Vitoria, he was introduced to the media on Wednesday. You can find that transcript here. As he told all reporters in the call, he’s excited to join MLS, as Dave Zeitlin wrote about for MLSsoccer.com:
“It’s a very attractive league that’s getting more competitive, you can tell. I’m very happy to be here and part of the Union. It’s a very successful league, and it’s going to keep growing and growing.”
Elsewhere, there is a Philadelphia Union team still playing in Florida – that’s the U16s in Orlando. They opened their second leg of the Generation Adidas with a 1-0 victory over D.C. United on Friday in the event’s first match of the day.
#13 JJ Nixon with the goal in the 1-0 win over DC United for the U16's, #17 Tiger Graham with the assist pic.twitter.com/OTy72KDj21— Phila Union Academy (@PhilaUnion_Acad) February 13, 2015
The Union will play Toronto FC tomorrow at 3 p.m. and finish the tournament against New York Red Bulls on Monday. Those two teams sit atop the group with six points each after each won their first two games in the first leg of the tournament. They Union have yet to lose in the tournament, at 1-0-2. You can check out the entire run-down of the tournament here.
Yes, it is Valentine’s Day weekend and the players have the weekend off to be with their loved ones. If you’re looking for some last minute advice (and haven’t seen it yet), check out Jimmy McLaughlin and Antoine Hoppenot’s take on the holiday.
And there’s too many to share, but if you haven’t tried #SoccerGrams yet, get into them. Maurice Edu has been a favorite (there's a lot you can -- cough -- edu with his name), including two here, one submitted by a fan:
And Andrew Wenger:
Alright, enough with the love. The weekend off will be a nice break, but it will be much appreciated. The Union will play four games in 11 days starting with the Costa Rica U-23 National Team on Wednesday, Feb. 18. They'll finish it up with either a consolation or championship game in the IMG Tournament on Feb. 28. The team flies back in Clearwater Monday afternoon and we won’t be returning to Philly until March 1. Then, it’ll be less than a week until Opening Day. Hope you're ready.
Finally if you haven’t seen it, check out this cool timelapse from Bill Strobel chalking up his new design in the Union club:
Contact Philadelphia Union press officer Chris Winkler at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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