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Archive for the ‘Sons of Ben’ Category

I was born into a Philadelphia sports family; I never really had a choice. I grew up nestled against my dad’s side watching Dutch, Kruk, and the Phils come up short in the ’93 series and tasted bitter defeat over and over again as Andy and the Eagles couldn’t win the big one. You learn to live with disappointment when you watch Philadelphia sports – the moments of joy and success that much better for having endured the near misses and the “there’s always next season” comments. But, as you experience fandom in the family or community setting, there’s a personal buy-in, a point at which “they” becomes “we” – a commitment that is difficult to duplicate. I learned to bleed with my teams and my fellow fans from a young age. But right now, my oft-absent optimism about Philadelphia sports couldn’t be greater – there’s a new team in town.

With the announcement of an MLS team to Philly, my passive observance of soccer became a subject I must master. I set Google alerts for MLS news, added favorites to my bar of soccer bloggers like Ives Galarcep, and hung on each announcement and word. No longer was I going to be a casual observer at Harrisburg City Islanders games, nor a hopeful and distant observer of America’s World Cup efforts – I was getting involved. While following the progress of the still unnamed MLS team, I happened across the Sons of Ben, the supporters group which helped bring the team to Philadelphia.

Here was a group of men and women who, though quirky and sarcastic, represented a level of excitement and committment I had seen few other places.  (more…)

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Glad I am getting to post this the same day Ryan posted his piece.  And like Ryan, I’m curious how other people feel about this, particularly people not native to the Philadelphia sports scene.

I am not a fan of Philadelphia sports.  There, I said it.  Let’s get it out there.  Growing up some 90 miles north of here in suburban New Jersey, I’ve never had much cause to root for any Philadelphia team. Soccer and hockey are the only two sports I follow with any regularity, and yes, I am a NJ Devils fan.  So not only do I not cheer for the Flyers, they are a hated rival.  When I follow American football, I am a Green Bay Packers fan (I am not sure how this happened, as my father is probably the biggest NY Jets fan on the planet).  So there is not that instant rivalry with the Eagles compared to if I were say, a NY Giants fan.  But I hate the Eagles.  I don’t even like baseball, but I’ve grown to hate the Phillies.  I have lived in Philadelphia for about 7 years at this point, and the teams have not grown on me. In fact, I’ve grown to hate them all more.

Why? It’s easy.  Philadelphia sports fans are assholes.   (more…)

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Shea Salinas, on the move vs. UNC

What did we learn from Philadelphia Union’s match against the University of North Carolina? A few things. (Not nearly as much as if I was actually there, instead of dodging three feet of snow, but I digress.)

The Union are much better than a good college team.

Yay! No, really. That may not seem like a big deal, considering the massive wins other MLS teams got in friendlies against colleges. (FC Dallas 7-1 over University of Tulsa? Ouch.) But before Saturday’s 5-0 win, let’s be honest: We just couldn’t know. You could hope, you could say they looked good on paper, but the Union hadn’t played anyone out in the open. UNC is a national title contender. That counts for something. The Union did what they were supposed to do.

Sebastien Le Toux can score.

Well, we know he can do it in USL, and now we know he can do it against college players after Saturday’s hat trick. Will he do it in MLS? He netted just once last year for the Sounders in his first MLS season, when he spent a lot of time at midfield. Given more time up top, maybe he can pair with Moreno so that rookie Danny Mwanga only has to ease into action.

Temple University’s J.T. Noone could make the team.

Noone made the trip and got playing time Saturday. We wrote a few weeks ago about his joining the Union, and it looks like he has a legitimate shot to make the team. If so, he might be the only local guy who does. (Drexel’s Dan Zajac apparently made the trip too, though it’s not clear if he played.) The Union have 20 players listed on their roster, and they get another four developmental roster slots as part of their final 24-man roster, all of whom are eligible for league play.

Get used to seeing Alejandro Moreno hit the deck.

The Venezuelan forward is known as a diver, but sometimes, he really does earn those penalties, like the one he drew Saturday that led to the first goal. That’s important to have on a team.

Videos and more after the jump.

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So you were selected in the MLS expansion draft, but what now?

Shea Salinas can move this for you.

If you are former San Jose Earthquake winger Shea Salinas, you now have to sell all your furniture and move across the country. Shea was recently featured on news site MLS Daily when his Craigslist posting for “Used Ikea Furniture” turned up. What’s more, Shea is even offering to help move the furniture anywhere in the Bay area to assist potential buyers. No word on whether there were any takers or not. (The ad has, sadly, been deleted.)

If you are former New England Revolution goalkeeper, Brad Knighton, it’s the off-season as usual: trips to golf in Florida, a stop-in to see the grandparents in Carolina, and dinner out with some old college buddies (bbknighton is a very active tweeter). Brad is also an avid gamer and reportedly will play any aspiring Philadelphia fan, in Call of Duty 2: Modern Warfare on XBOX Live.  If you are interested in challenging the net-minder, his XBOX player ID is DUBSCR0.

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