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Union-Celtic: The ultimate WTF game

You know those pseudo-intellectual, semi-respectable, journalistic (and probably pretentious!) types of posts I often write here about the Union, their tactics and the future?

Yeah, well, this isn’t one of them.

This is a look back at a night that was basically my ultimate WTF game. Just a bizarre night for so many reasons. Here’s why.

This is the traffic jam 15 minutes before kickoff. (Photo: Patrick Martin)

I found the true River End, and it’s not occupied by Sons of Ben. No, it’s actually Route 291, the main road into the stadium, which flooded to the point that water apparently reached as high as my car door handle, according to the guy directing traffic there. I sat in traffic for 45 minutes (with a guy in a Celtic shirt in the car behind me) before finally getting to the place where the traffic herders set up and veered me away from the flood. Yes, rather than set their people up by the exit ramp or the traffic light where they could have rerouted hundreds or thousands of cars BEFORE they sat in an unmoving line for 45 minutes, they just let us sit … and sit … and sit. We got to the stadium 30 minutes into the game. WTF?

I was rejoicing over the traffic jam as the game went on without me. (Photo: Patrick Martin)

Suggestion to the Union: Use your awesome social networking skills to notify people via Twitter or Facebook if you hear of biblical traffic messes like that. (And yes, Union employees knew. One mentioned it to me.) The failure to do so isn’t the fault of the Union, because these first games are a learning experience. But now we know.

Eduardo Coudet? Eduardo Coudet? We were dying in traffic at game time, and my buddy gets a Facebook message on his cell phone indicating some guy named Coudet is starting. Coudet? Coudet? They snuck another one in?  WTF?  Supposedly he’s played outside midfield for much of his career, but he was deployed at center midfield Wednesday. Looks like he can play, and that cartoon hair style has serious comedic potential. But seriously, make an announcement about a new player or something. I mean, a journeyman midfielder isn’t a state secret. WTF?

Brian Perk makes a brilliant save against Celtic. (Photo: Nicolae Stoian)

Brian Perk is a damn cat. Did you see those saves? That guy was everywhere! Fearless, acrobatic, quick as Bruce Lee, he secured the win with several brilliant saves in the last 15 minutes. Chris Seitz has been playing well, but don’t be surprised if Union fans start calling for Perk if Seitz starts struggling again. (Heck, this is Philly. They might call for him after every goal.) The guy was just brilliant. His style of goalkeeping is based on quickness and aggression, and it has to be, as he doesn’t even break six feet. Just awesome. WTF?

Toni Stahl, thanks for joining us, we have some nice parting gifts for you. Wow, another red card in less than a half of play. Terrific. Yep, don’t think we’ll be seeing him in a regular season game too soon. Most teams are actually better when they play with 11 men instead of 10. Dave Myrie and Shavar Thomas await. Sure, the second yellow card was pretty questionable, but WTF?

Yeah guys, you brought enough to smoke out the whole stadium. (Photo: Nicolae Stoian)

It’s not Scottish soccer unless some idiot fans are getting arrested. Yeah, thanks for the flares, guys. You let off so much smoke that it basically put a haze over the whole field for about 10 minutes. Hope security didn’t rough you up too much there as they dragged you out. Real classy too to toss entire beers into the air at Union fans in section 120 after your team scored. We really enjoyed watching the ref wave that goal off. We know you like your team, but WTF?

The Union won’t let me put my season ticket in my own name. So a friend reserved our tickets so we could ensure we had all three seats in one place. (Yeah, I can get press credentials to a game, but on Saturdays, I like to kick back and enjoy a game like anyone else – in the stands.) But when it came time to pay for them, I paid for the tickets with my credit card. Now I can’t switch the tickets to my name. It means I can’t get whatever benefits come with being a founding member.

A Union ticket rep explained to me the logic behind it Wednesday  night, that it’s to prevent someone from going in with a friend just to snag a boatload of tickets and cut the line of reservations. Sure, I can see theoretically how that would work, and the guy was a nice guy so I can’t be mad at him for a policy. (To be clear, I can get pretty good access to the team if I want it thanks to the Union’s solid PR staff, so it’s more the principle — and the recognition that others likely have similar situations but no press credential.) But what’s more likely: That, or that people simply didn’t want to have to coordinate the times of their reservations to ensure they got to select seats consecutively later on? This one has to change. We’ll give this a toned down, lowercase WTF in anticipation of the generally smart Union brass making the right call to change this in the offseason: wtf?

I watched 45 minutes of crappy soccer until the last few minutes. Yeah, the flood kept me out so that I missed the goal and most of the Union regulars. Then I watched both teams kick the ball around and do nothing for most of the second half. At least some of the regulars looked good, like Califf, Orozco, Jacobson (very poised) and Arrieta (great showing). Union Jack showed a little hop in his step, and Nick Zimmerman actually got more than five minutes in a game. But that was some boring, boring soccer for a while there. This Celtic team? Yeah, it’s preseason, but they’re such a pale shadow of what this club used to be that I was just like, WTF?

That last sequence was insane. Two brilliant saves by Perk. A great block of a shot by a defender (either Arrieta or Califf, I think, but I forget who). Boom, boom, boom. My buddy’s 12-year-old nephew isn’t a soccer fan, but we brought him to the game because we had an extra ticket. He said he loved it. It was the atmosphere in part, but that last sequence definitely helped. Absolutely brilliant. WTF!


  1. “The Union won’t let me put my season ticket in my own name. Now, I paid for the tickets with my credit card, but I can’t switch them to my name.”

    this seems contradictory please explain further.

    • “The Union won’t let me put my season ticket in my own name. Now, I paid for the tickets with my credit card, but I can’t switch them to my name.”

      We had that same problem, it sucks that we can’t add the names of the other people who got tickets together. I also hope that they can fix that after the season ends.

  2. The 3 tickets were in my buddy’s name. But when it came time to actually pay for them, I paid for 2 of the 3 tickets and he paid for his own separately. (I’ll edit the post to explain that more clearly.)

    • cool. I gotta say too that the Union ticket rep is nice – apparently my email that the Union had was in correct so they called me to remind me that “Ticket A” was to be used for the Celtic game (here I thought it was for a maybe playoff game).

      2 questions:

      1) I’m curious if Philly Soccer Page has heard anything regarding a SEPTA R2 station right in front of PPL? the shuttle bus is an awesome service but from a business sense wasteful over time if they can just extend SEPTA right to PPL.

      2) I know stadium expansion has been bandied about (personally I feel like the stadium size is just right) but have you heard if they are going to extend the canopy around the entire stadium – that would be so great for many reasons: more shelter from the elements, it would keep more sound/cheering inside PPL, and aesthetically PPL would take on a Euro-tastic feel! Nah Mean?!?!

      GO UNION!!!!!

      • If I recall the stadium is built to be easily expanded up to around 25,000. I dont think I can see them putting on a full roof until that happens, or perhaps, at all. I know it was part of the design that was floated about but all that extra steel means extra $$$ and then you lose all those pretty camera shots with the bridge in the background. The off-ramp down to the stadium parking lots should make a big difference as it nears completion but cant say that ive heard anything other than specualtion about extending the SEPTA line.

      • Thanks for the info PSPTim,

        I hear what you’re sayin’ about the bridge vistas.

        I heard on a video interview (can’t remember which Union exec it was) but he was droppping hints that PPL Park “will take on a new look over time…..”[oooooohhhhhhhhhhhhhhh]

        GO UNION!

  3. wanna use your press credentials to find out anything about whether Coudet has been signed? I know he was on trial but now that the window is open I would assume he has either been signed or let go? (hopefully the former) Would like to know of any possibility of seeing him in Saturday’s game.

    • “Coudet has not signed with the team so he would not be eligible to play until he does,” team spokeswoman Aimee Cicero told me this morning in an email.

      That said, don’t be surprised if he signs today.

    • Hopefully, it will be out there by close of business today. If you remember back to the Arrieta signing, the Union sort of dragged their feet until the last minute (or so it seemed) to get him signed and the roster approved for the game. All signs – especially the current injuries to Salinas, Torres, Nakazawa, and Moreno – make Coudet’s signing a strong possibility today. Without him, and assuming none of the players on the injury report play, we’d likely be looking at Fred – Le Toux – Jacobson across the middle with McInerney and Mwanga up top. That leaves only Zimmerman as a sub up front unless the Union do a loan up for JT Noone. Even with a short term loan, I would never want to go into a game with that short a bench.

      • Its going to be very disappointing if the Union dont sign him and have him ready by tomorrows game. They have had him for weeks and really should have had his international transfer certificate ready to go because I dont mean to be a downer, but I cant see us winning that game with so few subs all around the pitch. Nowak has a history of playing it safe, but I hope that unless its a serious issue he has torres or nak play because this is really a must win game. Going into this stretch of home games with 2 losses in a row would effectively end any chance of us making the playoffs. Especially with Columbus, Salt Lake, New England, Colorado and Dallas in in the first two weeks of august.

  4. Patrick Martin says:

    I have a WTF – The goal song and the exit song, “DOOP” and “Part of the Union”. It wasn’t the most exciting of game so I actually noticed them.

    “DOOP” is for dopes, enough said. “Part of the Union” deals with worker unions not the union of states. The Philly Union is named after the union of states since the states formed the Union in Philly. What we need is a fight song that deals with the team, inspires us, and lifts our revolutionary spirit.

    Here’s one I concocted from the 18th century song “Free America”.

    Lift up your hands ye loyal fans and swear with proud disdain.
    The foes that would ensnare you shall lay their snares in vain.
    Opposing teams use all your force, and meet us in the rain,
    We’ll fight and shout and shout and fight for Philly Union today!

    Playin’ in the nation of freedom; beneath this western sky.
    We are the Philly Union, of the land of liberty.
    The world shall know we’re masters here; then hasten on the day.
    Huzzah, huzzah, huzzah, huzzah for Philly Union today!

    Some future day will crown us the masters of the field.
    Our team is kickin’ thunder, and makin’ opponents yield.
    And the teams o’er the nation spread shall tremble and obey,
    Our team, our team, our team, our team of Philly Union today!

  5. Couldnt disagree with you more, I like both the doop song and “part of the union”. Doop was something nowak asked and i think its a catchy albeit wacky techno song. That song you listed is longer than 4 leaf clover and half of the SOBs cant even do that song very well. We need to remember most of the people who would be singing at these games have also had a couple of beers in their system.

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