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A Philadelphia Union blog hosted by Christopher A. Vito and Matthew De George

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Dealing some truth on the Union's new celebration routine

In bringing together the various cultures and soccer philosophies the Philadelphia Union has attempted to meld this year, there were two commonalities this offseason: Creative soccer, and cards.

In Saturday’s home opener, both made it onto the PPL Park pitch.

After Leo Fernandes set up Sebastien Le Toux for the only goal of the Union’s 1-0 win over New England, they celebrated the way they usually spend their afternoon: By playing cards.

The Union’s foreign contingent – Fernandes, Le Toux, Vincent Nogueira, Cristian Maidana and Fabinho – celebrated the goal as they had planned to beforehand.

“During all the preseason, we play lots of cards with all of us in that group – Chaco and Vincent and Leo,” Le Toux said. “We always play cards after every meal during the preseason. It’s one of those things that we have all together. Before the game, we said that – because we all played today starting – if one of us scores, we were going to do that. Luckily it was Leo who turned the ball to me, so we did that to just have good fun all together and this is how we build chemistry. So it was just a fun time.”

Those card games sound like a pretty important facet in breaking down barriers between new teammates.

“In preseason me, Sebastien, Vince, Cristian and Fabinho we always play cards,” Fernandes said. “For five hours straight, we would play cards. Our celebration was us playing cards.”

The game of choice, according to Fernandes, is 22, appropriate for the No. 22 Fernandes, who offered in his postgame interview that it’s a game most of us wouldn’t have heard of. As far as I can figure, here’s a guide to how it’s played.

The effects of it, though, are obvious on the field.

“It helps us bond a lot,” Fernandes said. “I feel like one of the reasons we’re so close and why we’re playing so good.”

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