Commentary

A very Union Thanksgiving

Photo: Earl Gardner

Things weren’t particularly rosy in Unionland in 2017, but that doesn’t mean the team’s fans should be too thankless come this time of year. After all, a quick Google search of inspiring Thanksgiving quotes has informed me that Oprah once said, “Be thankful for what you have – you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.”

Thanks, Oprah! Now let’s count those Union blessings.

Andre Blake

He may be on his way out the door, but Union fans have been downright privileged to watch Andre Blake save the backline’s butts each and every game for the past two-plus seasons. Enjoy it while you can.

The Sons of Ben

There wouldn’t even be a team without these goons. Union fans should be forever grateful that this beautiful group of men and women had the audacity and chutzpah to come together and make the dream of a soccer team in Philly a reality. Union fans have a team to cheer and a beautiful stadium to call home. It’s an incredible feat that probably seemed impossible when the movement begin. The Union’s origin story is no doubt the best and most inspiring in MLS. May the coming season give them plenty to cheer for.

No Pro/Rel in MLS

Sure, single entity isn’t ideal, but if promotion and relegation were part of the U.S. Soccer pyramid, fans would be trucking down to Chester to watch the Union take on Joe’s Pub every Sunday.

Puppy adoptions at Talen

Too cute. PLEASE STOP MAKING ME FEEL THINGS. A great cause and a cool idea.

TAM

Out of all the -AMs, TAM is definitely the dopest in my book. And guess what? The Union (and the rest of the league) are about to be showered with up to $2 million more of American soccer’s favorite crypto-acronym. Earnie Stewart’s going to be like Sepp Blatter at a press conference. Whoop!

Anthony Precourt is not the owner

Columbus Crew’s potential move to Austin is not a laughing manner and could be a devastating loss for one of American soccer’s proudest and most important fan bases. And while Jay Sugarman should be chastised for his lack of ambition, he is not a spineless carpetbagger intent on screwing over a city’s entire soccer culture for a stadium funded with citizens’ tax dollars. Be thankful for that and, as always, Save the Crew.

C.J. Sapong’s Zen

After his soccer career, I sincerely hope C.J. Sapong opens a yoga studio in Philadelphia so that he can teach me his ways. Between the namaste goal celebrations and Planet Lovetron, C.J. operates in a psychic space usually found at a Buddhist monastery. Union fans should thank their striker guru for his much-needed dose of charismatic Zen into the squad.

 

Some type of system

Yes, it’s infuriatingly inflexible, but the Union, for once, have a vision. It’s not perfect, but it’s a plan. And even if it all comes crashing down at some point, it’s going to be a heck of a lot easier to pick up the pieces than after the Sakiewicz era.

A Chief Tattoo Officer

It’s just a silly promotion, but gosh dangit it’s good to see the Union go out on a limb with something as fun, different, and weird as their fan base.

Young centerbacks

The Union Academy and the team’s draft strategy might actually be paying some very real dividends in the near future on the backline. Auston Trusty, Jack Elliot, Richie Marquez, Josh Yaro, and Mark McKenzie are all very talented young centerbacks who appear to have long MLS careers ahead of them.

Jim Curtin’s wardrobe

It’s on point. Say what you will about his tactics, but the man can rock a suit. No terrible Petke sweaters, Bob Bradley impersonating Steve Jobs, or Bruce Arena Brooklyn-schlub chic here.

National team reps

C.J. Sapong bossed around Portugal’s backline! Alejandro Bedoya is the elder statesman for the Nats! Andre Blake is already a CONCACAF legend! Haris Medunjanin plays as a 10 (who knew?!) for Bosnia-Herzegovina! Auston Trusty and Derrick Jones played in the U-20 World Cup! Warren Creavalle is out there tackling fools for Guyana! Jurgen Klinsmann was a fan of Fafa Picault for a minute! Jay Simpson was apparently capped by England when he was like 10! Keegan Rosenberry could be DeAndre Yedlin’s backup one day! The Union roster might be full of holes, but having so many national team representatives on the squad shows the strides the Union are making. Having teams to root for on international breaks is certainly something to be thankful for.

Richie Marquez’s beard

It’s a good beard.

 

Bethlehem Steel

Despite another drab year for the first team, Bethlehem Steel made the USL playoffs trotting out a squad that mostly relied on talented youngsters – not just Union bench players looking for minutes. It’s an ode to Brendan Burke’s coaching, the Union’s recent MLS Draft mastery, and the Academy’s development. The more the Steel succeed both on and off the field, the better the Union’s future looks.

Philly Soccer Page

This site is a rarity in American soccer: an independent, authentic media outlet dedicated to local soccer. No ads and beholden to no one. It’s a privilege just to write for this site and, more importantly, as a longtime reader, I’m so thankful it exists.

I think I speak for all PSP contributors when I say thank you readers for being a part of the PSP community. May you and your loved ones all have a happy and high cholesterol holiday.

What are you thankful for as a Union fan? Share away below and Happy Thanksgiving!

8 Comments

  1. Extremely thankful for PSP and Dan Walsh! Always learning from the fantastic writers like you, both Adams, Tim Jones, Peter, Chris, Mike, Jim, Matt, Nick, Eli, Josh Jeremy, etc. and appreciate the commentary from OSC, Sieve!, John P. O’Donnell, Pete, Andy, SilverRey, etc. Even El P for stirring the pot.
    As for Union–
    1. CJ Sapong–was a fan since he was on KC. Never understood the bashing on here. He is amazing on and off field toward fans. Grateful he is on the Union!

    2. Andre Blake–his ability to stretch, twist and turn his body into a Philly pretzel makes Reed Richards jealous.Grateful he is on the Union!

    3. Richie Graham–YSC academy is great idea, and clearly work in progress, so requires more patience with the “flaws”. Tim Jones does a terrific job writing about this.

    4. Ale and Haris—ton of fun to watch, looking forward to seeing more of both in 2018.

    5. Awesome youth potential–Jack, Marcus, Auston, Adam, Anthony, Santi, and even Eric Ayuk when he returns!

    6. A professional Philly men’s soccer team! Hope we get another shot at a women’s team!

    Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
    UNIONGOAL

  2. Thank you PSP. On days without a posting, I am lost.
    There are things on which we (the readers)disagree but it is never antagonistic. The discussions and insight are top-notch.
    And remember, thank you to the Union, because without them, we would have few things about which to complain!

  3. If I may, a heartfelt “me too!” To Steve’s thanks towards PSP’s readership.
    .
    A collective search for truth is much stronger than any individual one. Slower, you bet. Nonetheless, stronger.

  4. OneManWolfpack says:

    I am thankful for PSP, all the folks who comment, writers and all contributors… and the Union in general – cause as shit as they can be, they are still my club and the team I will support (even if I drop season tickets after this year – DON’T MAKE ME DO IT UNION!!)…
    .
    and finally about Precourt / Sugarman… the point made in the article is well taken. Sugarman sucks but he is an investor who I believe will sell at the right time. Until then, we are stuck with him. But I agree he isn’t Precourt, who at this point appears to be literally transforming into a movie villain, getting more and more evil as this story plays out. That guy is a POS

  5. I’d be thankful if you never, ever, ever use that pic again

  6. Way too much to eat and drink this weekend! So very thankful to have found this site in 2011. Everything about it is fun. The content is great and the community that takes the time to read and interact here are top notch.I am thankful for it all.

  7. Matt McClain says:

    “It’s a good beard.” Love it

  8. Chris Gibbons says:

    My goal in life is to be as Zen as CJ and as well-groomed and hirsute as Richie. One day at a time…

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