I had the chance to meet with some of the Philadelphia Union players after the Real Madrid match on Saturday night to get their reactions to the game. A common theme amongst everyone was that both this match and the one against Everton FC were great experiences for the squad, especially for the young players that don't get to see much playing time during league play.
Backup GK Zac MacMath who played the 1st 45 minutes against Everton said that that match "gave him confidence" to play against Real Madrid and that he was comfortable when he entered the match. That showed when he made a nice save of a Cristiano Ronaldo free kick. He said that it was "amazing" to play a team of Real Madrid's calibre.
A 2nd half substitute and the Union's goal scorer, Mike Farfan, said that it "felt great to score against such a good team." Despite falling behind early he said that the guys "never give up" which is kind of a team motto. His brother and starting LB Gabe thought that the Union "put on ahold show." when asked about the bad start and how the team got back on track he said that the team realized the it was a "normal game and that they weren't playing aliens."
Philadelphia's captain Faryd Mondragon believes that the Union showed all in attendance and everyone watching around the world that his "team is very good and are up to great things." When CB Danny Califf was asked about the rocky start he went on to say that mistakes happen to everyone, and he was proud that the team fought back. In his opinion the Union "took steps to become a better team."
I have to agree with what the Union's players said. They showed a lot of heart and playing against such quality teams such as Everton FC and Real Madrid can only make them better. Now it's time to refocus on league play and use this experience to push forward. Up next for Philadelphia is the 2010 MLS Cup winners Colorado Rapids at PPL Park on Friday night.
(image courtesy of Greg Carroccio)