"On a scale of 1 to 10, for opening a building, we're at a 9," said Tom Veit, the team president. "From what I've seen so far, I'm extremely happy."
The stadium stands on the Delaware River waterfront just south of the Commodore Barry Bridge, in the impoverished city of Chester. Team officials promised sufficient security for the game, given that city officials declared a state of emergency after four shooting deaths in eight days.
The team also promised that parking would be adequate - and that its parking plan would be a season-long work in progress. Both statements seemed true yesterday.
The Union provided 4,000 parking spaces on two big lots near the stadium and 3,000 to 4,000 at four satellite lots. The closest of those lots was half a mile away, the farthest more than a mile. Shuttle buses provided free transportation for fans in the far lots, though some chose to walk.
Jesse Nelson, 39, of Oaklyn, was not thrilled that he paid $15 to park in a grass-and-dirt lot, then walked 15 minutes through sweltering heat to the stadium. Cars were jammed into the lot, he said, and he worried how he would extract his vehicle after the game.
Kay St. Jean, 67, of Mount Laurel, said that she walked about 10 minutes through a weed-strewn area from her parking lot, but that for a first game at a new stadium, the logistics worked well.
"It was a little confusing about the nonpermit parking, but they've done a wonderful job," she said.
The closest SEPTA train stopped at the Chester Transportation Center, at Sixth and Welsh Streets, with shuttle service from there to PPL Park. Initial reports were that the line was having heavier than usual ridership.
The sold-out crowd went beyond sold out, reaching a final attendance of 18,755 in a stadium that officially seats 18,500. The arena was configured to generate intimacy and noise, and fans had plenty of both Sunday.
The noise from the stands was loud throughout, and the referees were booed mercilessly as they left the field at halftime, proving that you can take the fans out of Philadelphia, but you can't take Philadelphia out of the fans.
The stadium's east side, designated the "Supporters Section" and given over to fans who plan to stand, sing, cheer, and chant during the entire game, was a noise machine. The fanatical Sons of Ben fan club hung a sign from the rail of the first seats, naming the section "The River End."
Sunday's game took place not just in a new stadium but in the shadow of the World Cup and the excitement it generates. The U.S. loss to Ghana did not dampen enthusiasm for the Union.
From the start - actually for hours before - fans were wild to see the first-year team at its $122 million stadium. Hundreds were on hand by noon - five hours before the start.
"We were a little nervous about the parking, so we got here a little early," said Ira Wilson IV, 36, at the game with his father, Ira Wilson III.
Everyone seemed to be dressed in Union blue and gold, drums beat loudly, and chants and songs echoed across the grounds.
"You can just feel the passion," said Kirsten Hosack, 23, of North Wales, a season-ticket holder. She and her sister, Lauren Hosack, 21, and their friend Steve Edling, 24, had arrived hours early, worried about the traffic.
But few fans seemed to be thinking about anything but soccer - and the new stadium.
"It's young right now," said Eric Berger, 48, of Bryn Mawr, at the game with his wife, Lynda, 41. "It's a great-looking stadium."
The team played its first two home games at Lincoln Financial Field while waiting for PPL Park to be completed. The stadium offers seating close to the field and excellent sight lines even from from the least-expensive seats. The Union plans to survey fans on virtually every aspect of the first-game experience - from parking to food quality - beginning Monday morning.
Team and government officials opened the stadium not by cutting a ribbon, but by throwing a giant light switch - appropriate for a stadium named for an energy company.
"Enjoy it," team chief executive officer Nick Sakiewicz told fans gathered for the official ceremony before the game. "Enhance it. Make it your own."
Contact staff writer Jeff Gammage at 215-854-2415 or email@example.com.
Correspondent Pete Schnatz contributed to this article.