Union expected to host 2012 MLS all star game

Posted: January 24, 2012

A City Hall news conference on Tuesday involving Mayor Nutter and officials from Major League Soccer and the Union is expected to make official what multiple league sources have confirmed to Philly.com: that the Union will be hosting the 2012 MLS All-Star Game next summer.

MLS and Union officials would not comment, but in addition to Nutter, MLS commissioner Don Garber, Chester mayor John Linder and Union CEO and operating partner Nick Sakiewicz are scheduled to be among attending the news conference.

An official for MLS did say on Monday that the date of the all-star game has yet to be released.

An official of MLS said last year that in the next three years Philadelphia was expected to be in the mix to host the game.

Garber later discussed Philadelphia's future participation, saying he wasn't sure how soon the Union would get the game. But he clearly indicated it was in the near future.

"Every team, particularly those who made a commitment to build a stadium, who have a passionate fan base, should have an all-star game," Garber said last year.

A Union official stated last year that if Philadelphia was awarded the game, it would be hosted at PPL Park in Chester.

Last season's all-star game on July 27 was hosted by the New York Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J., and drew a sellout crowd of 26,760.

PPL Park holds 18,500, and last season the Union averaged 18,259. A team official said that the stadium's capacity could be expanded for special events.

Last season, the Union twice drew more than 19,000 fans, against the Red Bulls (19,027) and the Los Angeles Galaxy (19,178).

The Union will begin their third MLS season on March 12 in Portland, Ore., against the second-year Timbers.

Contact staff writer Marc Narducci at mnarducci@phillynews.com, 856-779-3225 or @sjnard on Twitter.

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