It hasn’t taken Kai Wagner long to prove that Ernst Tanner made a good bet in bringing the unheralded German left back to the Union.
Wagner has looked quite good in his three games with the Union so far, on both defense and offense. He’s averaging 2.7 tackles and 1.3 interceptions, and has completed at least 80 percent of his pass attempts and created at least one chance in each contest. Sunday, he got his first assist in MLS on Brenden Aaronson’s goal in the 1-1 tie at Atlanta United.
“I think you can see every game that I feel more comfortable,” he said this week. “The tactical system is easy to me to learn, because in Germany we play the same system. … I have a lot of space and a lot of my own creativity to play balls forward [and] backward, to defend well, to attack well."
Wagner spoke highly of Jim Curtin, and how the Union manager has brought Wagner into the team.
“He’s a very good coach — he talks a lot with the players; he knows what we want to do in each game," Wagner said. "I think he does his job very well. We know what we have from each other.”
There has been work to do off the field, too, getting used to a new life in a new country. The Union helped him find an apartment and a car, and fellow German speakers Kacper Przybylko and Marco Fabián have played tour guide. Wagner also has an aunt who lives within driving distance of Philadelphia.
“I settled very fast, because the club makes that easy for me,” he said.
Union fans who want to take public transit to Saturday night’s game against Columbus will be able to get home more easily thanks to SEPTA’s adding an extra train to Center City to its Wilmington/Newark Regional Rail line schedule.
The train will leave the Chester Transportation Center at 10:30 and make all local inbound stops into Center City. The Union run a free shuttle between the Chester Transportation Center and Talen Energy Stadium.
SEPTA said the new service is “part of a pilot program that SEPTA is testing for the first few matches of the season in response to requests received from Philadelphia Union fans.”
In the past, fans had to either rush out of the stadium or wait until after 11. Service before the game will be on a normal schedule, departing Jefferson Station at :29 past the hour, Suburban Station at :34 past, and 30th Street at :38 past.
Fans wishing to take the train southbound to Wilmington after the game will have to wait until the regularly scheduled departure at 10:58.