Featured / Union

Fans see improvement, look to the future

Soccer-supporting bars in and around Philly were filled with Union supporters on Saturday night.

At the 700 in Northern Liberties, Union supporters were generally satisfied with what they saw, especially the new confidence flowing from Faryd Mondragon through the defense.

Looking at the assembled Union faithful, Chris Hayes, the rep from Angelo’s Soccer Corner who was on hand at the viewing party to give away prizes said, “You see what’s going on in here? There’s 50 people in here and 50 sets of eyes are on the telly.”

Moments later, when Le Toux banged the ball off of the crossbar and Califf sunk the rebound, Hayes exclaimed, “That’s the way to start a season! Just keep doing that!”

While “that” did not happen, the run of play often put the focus of many on the defense.

As chants of “Ride the White Dragon” broke out in the bar, Sons of Ben member Ralph D’Angelo described Faryd Mondragon as the most important addition to the Union. “What you saw, he’s directing everyone in front of him. When he’s doing that and making the saves he needs to make, that’s all you need. When the ball was getting in there, he knew how to respond. That comes with experience—the guy’s like 40 years-old.”

Brothers and Sons of Ben Members Ryan and Shane MaCleer liked what they were seeing in the back.

“The back line looked much stronger,” said Ryan. “There were a lot of holes and mistakes there last year. They looked much better. The keeper was composed and confident. They helped each other out and provided stability and confidence.

Added Shane, “I like Sheanon Williams—he plays incredibly hard. I have to mention Valdes because Califf is so slow. That said, I’ve met Califf and he’s one of the nicest, most sincere people you can meet. It’s the difference between cheering for Brian Dawkins and Pacman Jones.”

Ralph D'Angelo, Chris Hayes and Nancy Michini at the PSP viewing party. (Photo: Nicolae Stoian)

Still, some fans wanted to see more attacking play from the Union.

After exclaiming, “Offsides? The width of my fucking shoe?! Le Toux just told the official in French, ‘You’re an asshole,'” Union supporter and 700 regular Chopper said, “They need to attack more. They’re playing scared and they have a lot of shitty giveaways.”

Nevertheless, Chopper was pleased with what he saw. “They’re playing better than last year.”

The importance of winning on the road to start the season was not lost on the crowd.

“To get a clean sheet in Houston says a lot,” said Ryan. “And there’s not that many bars in Philly where everyone is fixated on the Union, where everyone is supporting them. It’s great—3 points, a few drinks, hanging out with your friends, having a good time—it’s my kind of night.”

He added, “The derby with New York Red Bulls—Thierry Henry—I can’t wait.”

“One down, 33 to go,” said Shane. “Now we have to do the typical Philly thing and say we’re going to win the MLS Cup. Realistically, I think we’re going to be fighting for a playoff spot and I think it’s going to be a struggle, but we’re going to get one.”

“I think we’ve got a solid playoff team, particularly with the new goaltender and the back line,” added D’Angelo.

Said Nancy Michini, D’Angelo’s wife and also a Sons of Ben Member, “We’ll get there, but it won’t be easy.”

Reporting by Brion Shreffler. Photos by Nicolae Stoian.


  1. Brian Dawkins and Pacman Jones, HAHAHA. Can quote of the season be awarded following only one match? Great stuff, Shane.

  2. PhillyHotSpur says:

    Great article and those fans interviewed really know their futbol……

    And, I’m already looking forward to the “Ride the White Dragon” chant at the PPL Park

    Geeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet Some.

  3. Little Chocolate Donut says:

    I was there, what a great place to watch the game. Awesome crowd. Does anyone know where Shane got his daisy duke shorts?

  4. Great game and great party thanks to the Philly Soccer page and our own Ed Farsworth and “DOOP”

  5. Farnsworth Sorry

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