Union to reopen Subaru Park to full capacity June 23
Season ticket-holders will be able to return to their regular seats. The team will resume general sales of single-game tickets May 21.
The Union announced Monday that the full capacity of Subaru Park will reopen for the June 23 game against the reigning MLS champion Columbus Crew, the first home game after the league goes dark for two weekends in early June for national team tournaments.
It will be the first time since the coronavirus pandemic started that the Union will be able to play to a full house. And because the Union didn’t play a home game last year before the pandemic started, it will be the first opportunity for a full house since the 2019 playoffs.
A statement from the Union said season ticket holders will be able to return to their regular seats. The team will also resume general sales of single-game tickets. Tickets have recently been available almost exclusively to season-ticket holders, though some have been resold on the secondary market.
All fans will be required to wear masks at all times in the stadium except when actively eating or drinking. All tickets and parking passes will remain exclusively available via mobile devices, and you’ll be able to pay for concession purchases only with a credit or debit card.
There will be designated areas of the stadium set aside for fans who wish to remain at a greater distance from other spectators. If you’re a season-ticket holder who wants to sit in one of those areas, watch for an email this week from the team.
The designated visiting fans’ section will also return at that point and could return sooner. Union officials are well aware that there were security issues with visiting New York City FC and Inter Miami fans in recent games, including reports that Miami fans injured Union fans amid a scuffle in a section behind the west goal.
Last week, Gov. Tom Wolf said that crowd size limits for events in Pennsylvania outside Philadelphia will be lifted starting May 31. Because the Union play in Chester, they were able to become the first local sports team to confirm a date on which they’ll return to full capacity.
Philadelphia officials are scheduled to hold a press conference Tuesday to unveil the city’s plan for a full reopening. There was no word Monday afternoon about how the plan would affect the Phillies and 76ers.
The Union have four games left before the break: Wednesday vs. New England (7:30 p.m.); Saturday vs. the New York Red Bulls (7:30 p.m.); May 23 at D.C. United (7 p.m.); and May 30 vs. Portland (7 p.m.). They will return to action June 20 at Atlanta United, a game that’s especially anticipated after the Union recently ousted Atlanta from the Concacaf Champions League.
For the games before the stadium returns to full capacity, the social distancing mandate and other rules will remain in place.
The national team tournaments taking place during the break are Concacaf Nations League’s final four (June 3-6), the European Championship (June 11-July 11), and South America’s Copa América (June 11-July 10). Lots of players around MLS will play for their countries in those tournaments, and some will leave their clubs for pre-tournament training camps, too.
Dániel Gazdag deal is done
The Union’s signing of Hungarian midfielder Dániel Gazdag is done and should be announced soon, a source with knowledge of the deal confirmed. The Inquirer reported last month that the Union were in pursuit of the 25-year-old attacking playmaker, who plays for the Hungarian club Honvéd and his country’s national team.
The Union will pay a transfer fee of around $1.8 million, the second-highest fee in team history behind the $2 million spent on Jamiro Monteiro in January 2020.
The timing of Gazdag’s arrival is still up in the air. He has to get his visa paperwork approved, and he’s likely to play for Hungary at the Euros. Gazdag was named Thursday to a 30-player provisional squad for the tournament. Hungary’s training camp starts for domestic-based players May 17, and for foreign-based players May 24.
This year’s tournament is being played at venues around Europe instead of in one country, a plan conceived in 2012 to celebrate the event’s 60th anniversary. The quadrennial spectacle was to take place in 2020 but was delayed a year by the pandemic. UEFA controversially stuck with the hosting plan (which was controversial enough already), and there will now be 11 venues spread across the continent.
Hungary was drawn into the tournament’s Group of Death with Portugal, France and Germany. It will host Portugal on June 15 and France on June 19 in Budapest, then play Germany on June 23 in Munich. The top two teams in each of the six groups, plus the best four third-place teams across the field, advance to the knockout rounds.
ESPN (in English) and Univision (in Spanish) have broadcast rights for the tournament.
» READ MORE: Why Dániel Gazdag is a player the Union need