Is Philly ready for Major League soccer?

    Philadelphia’s first Major League Soccer team, the Union, will play their first home game next April. But it won’t be at its new stadium in Chester.

    Philadelphia’s first Major League Soccer team, the Union, will play their first home game next April. But it won’t be at its new stadium in Chester.

    Listen:
    [audio: 090924sbsoccer.mp3]

    Billboards in the region feature the block-lettered question: “Is Major League Soccer ready for Philly?”

    The question seems particularly apt given delays that have pushed back the stadium’s opening until at least mid-April 2010, weeks after the season gets underway. The team’s first home game on April 10th will be played at Lincoln Financial Field.

    Team President Tom Veit says the nation’s economic downturn meant the team couldn’t issue bonds to fund construction until later than expected.

    Veit: That slowed us down a little bit. We were hoping to pick up some steam and catch back up, and we did a little bit of that, but not enough to get us to the point where we were comfortable enough to announce the April 10 deadline.

    Officials can’t say when the stadium will open, though Veit says he’s confident most of the team’s home games will be played in the new stadium next season.

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