The Philadelphia Union’s kit launch party couldn’t have come at a better time.
Hours after making the Marco Fabián signing official, the Union’s newest Designated Player and arguably most important signing in club history greeted fans packed into the lobby of the Wharf building near Talen Energy Stadium.
In an email to attendees on Thursday, the Union stated that more than 1,000 fans were expected to be in attendance and it sure seemed like they beat that number, likely in part due to the possibility that the deal with Fabián would be finalized in time for the El Tri star to make a cameo.
The party also included player appearances and autographs by Mark McKenzie, Auston Trusty, Matt Real and Sergio Santos, who were asked about their thoughts on the new secondary jerseys and their outlook for the season on stage by local sports anchor Sean Brace.
The atmosphere was celebratory and undeniably positive.
Many fans expressed that Fabián’s signing has changed their outlook for the upcoming 10th season. Before this week, fan morale was still pretty low coming off a ninth straight season without a playoff victory.
“Love it! Looking forward to seeing him play this season,” founding season ticket member Vince from West Deptford, N.J. said when asked about the team’s newest designated player. “Almost makes up for losing (Keegan) Rosenberry.”
Another long-time fan, Brad Rodgers, of Blue Bell, had a similar reaction.
“I like to see a big name come to Philly, one that will bring the people out,” Rodgers said.
Shortly after he was introduced to the crowd, fans starting singing, “We love you Marco, we do, Marco Fabián we love you,” a gesture Fabián noted in an interview with news media moments later.
After last night, it’s safe to say the reception so far has been a warm one for a player fans hope will be the difference between another one-and-done cameo in the playoffs and a step closer to the ultimate prize in season 10.