Soon after their friendly later tonight against USL Pro team Orlando City, the Philadelphia Union will pack their bags and head to the Greek isle of Crete, where they will train and play two more pre-season friendlies.
The first of those two pre-season games will be played on February 28 against Hersonissos*, a Greece Football League 2 side. In Greece, League 2 is the third tier of football, behind Football League (League 1) and Superleague Greece. Hersonissos (full name Olympiakos Chersonissos F.C.), are currently in a relegation battle in League 2 with a record of five wins, six draws, and nine losses, good for 21 points. Out of sixteen teams, they are in 14th, with the last three teams getting relegated to Delta Ethniki, a multi-group semi-professional league in Greece. Hersonissos are based in the small town of Hersonissos in northern Crete.
The second of these two pre-season games will come against Ergotelis F.C. Ergotelis are a Superleague Greece side. It goes without say they are a much more formidable squad than Hersonissos. Ergotelis are currently in 6th place in Superleague Greece with a record of nine wins, four draws, and nine losses, good for 31 points. If Ergotelis can end the season in 5th place, they will qualify for a 4-team finish playoffs where if they finish 3rd or better, they will qualify for the UEFA Champions League in 2011-2012. While Ergotelis do not currently contain any American soccer players or players Americans would be familiar with through other endeavors, Clint Mathis spent one year with Ergotelis in 2008. Ergotelis are based in the capital and largest of city of Crete Heraklion. Like Hersonissos, Haraklion is located in the northern part of the Greek island of Crete.
Both fixtures will be played at played at Pancretan Stadium (also seen as Pankritio Stadium). Pancretan Stadium is located in Haraklion and is the home stadium of Ergotelis F.C. Times of both fixtures are TBD.
* - The Philadelphia Union's schedule link has Ergotelis as the February 28 fixture Hersonissos as the March 2 fixture. However all other sources, including the above linked press release from PhiladelphiaUnion.com indicate that Hersonissos is the February 28 fixture and March 2 as the Ergotelis fixture.