CHESTER, PA- APRIL 09: Philadelphia Union fans cheer during the game against the New York Red Bulls at PPL Park on April 9, 2011 in Chester, Pennsylvania. The Union won 1-0. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
If the Philadelphia Union and the New York Red Bulls weren't considered to have a rivalry yet, they certainly will after Thursday night. The two clubs face off in a game that may decide whether or not the Red Bulls make the playoffs and if the Union claim first place in the Eastern Conference in only their second season in MLS.
It will be the fans, however, that dictate the rivalry this time around.Thursday will be the fifth game of the two team's short history together, with the largest away support for either side numbering no more than a couple hundred. The Union will have at least 800 fans at Red Bull Arena (RBA), with a Sons of Ben source telling the Brotherly Game that Philadelphia supporters could number up to 1200 people by game time. If 1200 Union fans make it to RBA, then it'll number among the highest number of away supporters ever at MLS regular season game. The Seattle Sounders had almost 1500 fans at their game at Empire Stadium versus the Vancouver Whitecaps this year.
The source also told the Brotherly Game that Comcast SportsNet Philly (CSNPhilly) will send a camera crew to record the Sons of Ben during the trip to Harrison, NJ, where RBA is located. The Crew will travel with the Sons of Ben, who are locally infamous for their bus trips to various locales since the Union were formed in 2010.
According to their Twitter account, the Sons of Ben have already received multiple messages from Red Bulls supporters that show that the new rivalry wasn't simply manufactured out of the longstanding rivalry that has gone on in the other four major sports in American between Philadelphia and New York. "Sons of ben its more like sons of #&!*$es you fools better watch your !#^es when you step into OUR HOUSE on Thursday," wrote one slightly over-zealous Red Bulls fan.
The Red Bulls themselves are attempting to make RBA as full as possible for the regular season home closer through an online ticket promotion. New York has a limited amount of jerseys ($60 retail) available for fans that purchase $50 midfield or $40 sideline seating for the game.
The Union and Red Bulls have played three times in MLS play, with the Union leading the series 2-1-0, while the Red Bulls are currently 1-0-0 at Red Bull Arena.
Tickets are still available to the game, with the price discounted to $20 if you purchase them through a special code on the Red Bull's site (which can be reached by clicking the linked text here).