Philadelphia Union Reach U.S. Open Cup Final

The above tweet is not a typo. The Philadelphia Union are in the championship! “Already?” you might be asking. “It’s only August! Doesn’t the soccer season run into the fall?” Yes, it does. And the Union still sit in fifth place MLS’ Eastern Conference. But the team is also in the championship!

For the uninitiated, let’s explain: After the the game ended 1-1 in regulation and extra time, the Union defeated FC Dallas, 4-3, in a penalty shootout in the semifinals of the U.S. Open Cup. C’mon! Even if you’re not that interested in soccer, as a Philadelphian you should always get excited for wins over teams from Dallas.

So, yeah, the U.S. Open Cup. Soccer is weird: Domestic soccer leagues run concurrently with a completely separate cup competition, which in the U.S. is a straight knockout competition. Yes, if you’re a soccer fan you get to look at brackets all year! It’s fun. Winning the U.S. Open Cup wouldn’t be as prestigious as qualifying for the playoffs and winning the MLS Cup, but it counts as an all-important “domestic trophy” nonetheless. (Yes, another cool thing about soccer is there are several chances to win championships in a season.)

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Meet Jake Panasevich, Yoga Trainer for the Philadelphia Union

Jake teaching a class for the Union // Photo via Facebook

Jake teaching a class for the Union // Photo via Facebook

You might’ve seen Jake Panasevich around before. He teaches at Maha Yoga on 16th and Sansom, writes about yoga for U.S. News, and was recently featured in Men’s Health. For the past six months, he’s also been the yoga trainer for the Philadelphia Union, Philly’s Major League Soccer team. If you’re sitting there thinking, ”That’s cool, but what the heck is a yoga trainer?” trust me, you’re not alone.

I chatted with Jake last week to learn a little more about what exactly a yoga trainer for a pro sports team does, how a regular practice has been received by the players, and why yoga is so darn important for cross-training.  Read more »

Philly Sole: A Look at Soccer Star Maurice Edu’s 400-Pair Sneaker Collection

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Maurice Edu’s collection goes from sporty to splashy. | Photo by Victoria Stern.

Philadelphia basketball sneaker sales have risen 17 percent in the last year, and I have an inkling as to why. In a sneaker-obsessed city, Maurice Edu, midfielder for the Philadelphia Union, might be the biggest sneakerhead in town. His Center City apartment is filled with them—cobalt blue studded Louboutins, leopard-print Guiseppe Zanottis—and this is only a mere fraction of his collection. I talked with Edu about his love of sneakers at his Center City apartment, and got a look at some of his favorite, most splashy pairs.

Click here to for an inside look at his collection.

Day In The Life: Soccer Star Maurice Edu Owns HOW Many Shoes?!

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Photo by Courtney Apple.

Just before the World Cup craziness, I spent some time with the Philadelphia Union’s star midfielder Maurice Edu in his Rittenhouse apartment. He was in the midst of packing for the final stages of World Cup training in Brazil (sadly, he was eliminated from the final roster with Landon Donovan). His apartment was nearly bare—he ping-pongs around the world during the year—save for a giant TV on the floor and a pop-a-shot game in a corner.

Oh, and the sneakers. Boxes upon boxes of sneakers, designer pairs piled up in his closet, sportier pairs holding court in a front room, each shoebox labeled with a photo of the pair inside, Mariah Carey-style.

See where he shops here.

Strong Storms Knock Out Power to Hundreds of Thousands

Violent storms whipped through the Philadelphia area last night, knocking out power to hundreds of thousands of customers. Winds gusted as high as 60 miles an hour.

PECO says 75,000 customers are still without power, down from a high of 204,000 around midnight.

It’ll take crews until the end of the week to restore power to all customers. Things could be worse: In Northwest Pennsylvania, tornado sightings were reported in Mercer County.

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Chester Parking Wars: Company Alleges Conspiracy Between Union, City

A Main Line parking operator filed a federal racketeering lawsuit that claims the city of Chester and the Philadelphia Union conspired to close the parking lots the company owns near the team’s stadium. The team says the suit is without merit.

Filed by T.I.C.B. Partners, the suit (see below) alleges Chester police chief Joseph Bail and other police officers were on the payroll of Global Spectrum, which manages PPL Park. The company says Chester police closed the company’s lots on match day several times in order to divert revenue to lots owned by the Union.

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Yards Collaboration Beers Hit the Streets, the Pier and the Pitch

SOB_Tap_Sticker_AlePageYards Brewing is on an exclusive beer kick. Last week they debuted Sons of Ben Rowdy Style Ale. A beer dedicated to Philadelphia Union’s supporters club. And over at Morgan’s Pier, they’ve just begun pouring Yards Petty’s Island Ale, a nitro cream ale brewed for the outdoor bar with summer-day drinking in mind.

And tomorrow, City Tap House is debuting their exclusive Yards Brewing collaboration, Just Off Walnut. This beer is a Belgian Brown Ale brewed with a De Koninck yeast strain, leaving a fruity nose and spicy crisp finish. City Tap House managing partner Andy Farrell and Yards brewmaster Tim Roberts went back in forth in creating an accessible beer that is light and easy but sophisticated enough for the beer snob as well. 

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Union Not the Biggest Disappointment of PPL Park

Sunday’s Inquirer featured a report by Laura McCrystal on the failure of PPL Park to spark a rebirth in Chester. The home of the Philadelphia Union, which got $47 million in state funding in 2008, was supposed to be the first part of several hundred million dollars of investment along the Chester waterfront.

The stadium’s great, the view of the Commodore Barry Bridge is awesome, games are generally well-attended and the team is supposedly an OK neighbor (if sometimes disappointing on the pitch). The stadium brought jobs, but it’s only open for big events a few dozen times a year. The global financial crisis wiped out additional development.

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PHOTO: Just-Traded Union Goalie Chris Konopka With Girlfriend Maria Papadakis

Our very own Scenester, HughE Dillon, informs us that the below photo, taken last night at Feastival, is the only one you’ll find  online of just-traded Philadelphia Union goalie Chris Konopka and his lady friend, Philly socialite Maria Papadakis.

According to reports, Kononpka is headed to Toronto FC. He tweeted his thanks to the Union this morning. No word on what this means for the romantically linked pair, or if Konopka will have to relinquish his Sexy Single-dom.

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