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Wednesday Morning Union Freekicks: Congratulations, You're A Fan Of A "Very Competitive" League

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Good news, everyone! The past sixteen years of hard work has been worth something after all. No, but really, Sir Alex Ferguson says that Manchester United are "finding it increasingly more exciting" every time they come across the pond, especially since MLS "is now developing into a very competitive league". Or maybe he just likes the food here better. I guess we'll never know. Today's open thread for all things Union, soccer and international travel perks.

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson praises MLS, Red Bull Arena [Michael J. Fensom, The Star-Ledger] - I'm not entirely sure what to make of his remark about determining substantive growth and improvement in American soccer based on Kansas's performance against his side, but I think if I were from Kansas, I would be somewhat insulted.

USA Vs. Paraguay Friendly: Oscar Cardazo Goal Gives Paraguay 1-0 Victory [Craig Powers, SB Nation Seattle] - Paraguayan keeper Justo Villar was awfully impressive in the closing moments of the match, taking away surefire goals from Michael Bradley and Jermaine Jones.

Union Launch 'Union Fans Assist' [philadelphiaunion.com] - This looks like a pretty cool system. Through the Union, you can setup automated pledges to worthwhile charities based on Union goals and cleansheets. So the team's performance on the pitch not only affects their positions in the standings, but also how much money is being donated by fans at the end of the year. A little extra incentive for the sake of charity can never hurt. Awesome idea.

Farfan Brothers Come Together In Philadelphia [Dave Zeitlin, MLSsoccer.com] - I can't be the only one wondering whether they've already pulled the pretending-to-be-the-other-one trick before/during practices and maybe even a match. If they got their goatees in sync, who would know?

Major League Soccer plans to build fan base [Steve Mosco, The Queens Courier] - Props to the New York Red Bulls for donating equipment, money and time to local youth soccer programs. Where the article's headline came from, I am not sure.

Pro Soccer: Philadelphia Union Savoring 2-0 Start [Matt Leon, KYW Newsradio] - Includes a two-minute interview with McInerney.

McInerney, Torres Bring Offense Off Union Bench [Dave Zeitlin, MLSsoccer.com] - ...Speaking of McInerney, when Peter Nowak decided to go all in against Vancouver after Eric Hassli's ejection, he picked two of his most promising young players. As per usual, they were effective.

Nowak Named EVP of Soccer Operations/Team Manager [Philadelphia Union Communications] - Given his already very broad role within the organization, it's not fully clear what this new title actually means, but it might mean a smaller regarding on-the-pitch decisions from Nick Sakiewicz.