PHILADELPHIA - JULY 21: Gabriel Obertan #26 of Manchester United heads the ball over Kyle Nakazawa #13 of the Philadelphia Union at Lincoln Financial Field on July 21 2010 in Philadelphia Pennsylvania. Manchester United won 1-0. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
I Wish I Were A Geordie is reporting that Newcastle United and the Philadelphia Union of the MLS are in talks to play a preseason friendly at PPL Park in Chester, Pennsylvania. If true, the match would signal a second straight trip for Newcastle to the United States to play in preseason friendlies. Last July, the Toon played Sporting Kansas City, Orlando City SC, and the Columbus Crew in their tour, which was considered by many to be a disaster by the time it was over. On top of travel concerns (which also included visa trouble for Joey Barton and Cheik Tiote), two of the games were played in 90+ degree heat, there was a last-minute controversy over playing on Orlando's plastic pitch, and Hatem Ben Arfa was injured by a rough tackle from Sporting Kansas City defender Roger Espinoza.
All but one of those problems was really rather avoidable, but with better planning, a trip to the United States can still be quite a profitable trip for Newcastle - there are plenty of Toon fans in the States, which was reflected by strong attendance figures at the three friendlies in 2011. It's smart to plan to play in a place like Philadelphia, where the weather will be cooler, and there are plenty of other teams in close proximity that could be added to the schedule. The Union have hosted foreign teams for friendlies before, including Manchester United and Celtic FC.
Check out SBN's Philadelphia Union site, The Brotherly Game, for more on this and other stories on the Union.