It's a tale of polar opposites, in almost every sense.
The Union will host Manchester United in an international friendly Wednesday at Lincoln Financial Field. One club is considered the most popular sports franchise in the world. The other is in its first season in Major League Soccer.
One has readily admitted it's not focused on winning, while the other has noted that, while winning is the always the goal, the experience itself can go a long way toward establishing a foundation for an expansion franchise.
"It's important to appreciate the opportunity . . . they don't come around very often," Union midfielder Alejandro Moreno said Monday. "Not every MLS team gets this opportunity. It's a wonderful experience. One that we should enjoy, one that we should make the most of . . . it's a learning experience."
Wednesday's international friendly is expected to draw more than the 18,500 that PPL Park can accommodate, so the match has shifted to the 81,000-seat stadium.
This is the second stop in a four-city North American tour for Manchester United, a club that has been in existence since the 1870s and is regarded as the one of the most valuable and successful sports franchises in the world. The Union, on the other hand, are looking to dig themselves out of the pits of eastern conference of the MLS, where they are currently in eighth place.
"I think it's a great feeling for an expansion team to go against a prestigious club," Union team manager Peter Nowak said. "I think this is what we need to gain experience as a team - to get together and play very well. I think it's a learning process. This is when you gain experience. This is when you measure what you need and what kind of work needs to be done."
A win on Wednesday will do nothing to affect the MLS standings. Instead, Union players hope they can utilize something from the match and apply it to the rest of the season.
"There's some things that will help us as a group, and certainly some things that can help us individually, if we're looking for those things to help us," Moreno said. "If we let the game go by and not really look for things that can be helpful to the team, then the game has no real bearing.
"A willing mind can do a lot of things, and one of the things it can do is learn when the opportunity is there."
This is the second preseason match for Manchester United, whose main concern is conditioning for the English Premier League season.. As team manager Sir Alex Ferguson said Monday, the purpose of these friendlies is "fitness" and to come away without any serious injuries.
There is no strategy. No game plan. No real motivation for Manchester United to win. About the only thing the club knows about the Union is what they saw on tape of two of their matches, against Celtic FC and Toronto FC.
"We're trying to do the best we can with the circumstances," Ferguson said. "It's not the same preparation in terms of finding an opponent's weaknesses or strengths."
The Union can skip a film session for this match. As Moreno said on Monday, the team follows Manchester United on a weekly basis on television, so nothing should come as a surprise on Wednesday.
Still in the tender stages of preseason preparation, Manchester United is not in game shape. Plus, the players are not accustomed to playing in warm weather. Those advantages go to the Union, who have played 16 matches this season. The club also has bounced back with consecutive wins after a disappointing loss at home, so the Union go into Wednesday's match without much pressure.