Wednesday night, there will be no "Fly Eagles Fly" at Lincoln Financial Field. Nor will there be any white, black or green — except maybe for a smattering of seats in the upper deck.
Instead, the home of the Eagles will be taken over by the red, white and blue as the United States Men's National Team returns to Philadelphia for its Gold Cup quarterfinal against El Salvador. It's the second year in a row that the Linc has hosted the Stars and Stripes, and it would've been the third had the United States not been upset by Jamaica in the 2015 Gold Cup semis.
And the return of the USMNT means that the American Outlaws — in particular, the organization's Philadelphia chapter — will be out in full force as they take over sections 129 and 130. The Outlaws, an unofficial fan group with 191 official chapters and more than 30,000 members, have already made their presence felt in Nashville, Tampa and Cleveland with large crowds and plenty of noise.
But local chapter president Julian Brown hinted that, in true Philly fashion, it might even get a little rowdier at the Linc than it's been thus far in the tournament's group stage.
"I think there's always a little rowdiness when you come to Philly," he said. "Every AO section, though, tends to be the same. We chant, we sing — you might hear a few more F-bombs ... Philly fans are definitely a bit more rowdy.
"But as far as whether it will really become a factor, it's an AO section. We'll stand, we'll sing, we'll cheer and it'll probably be like any game, just with a little Philly touch."
The Philadelphia chapter, which has about 700 members and is the second-largest in the nation according to Brown, became active during the 2013 Gold Cup when the USA marched all the way to the final before losing to Mexico. Although the City of Brotherly Love was not a host site that year, the Outlaws set up their home base at Fado, a pub on the 1500 block of Locust Street.
Now, the group has shifted its home bar to Field House on Filbert Street — where it hosted a night-before party Tuesday evening as per tradition with most Outlaws chapters across the country.
And after missing out on what could have been a major opportunity to host a U.S.-Mexico final when Philadelphia was the site of the 2015 Gold Cup final, Philly's American Outlaws were thrilled to know that they would be basically getting a guaranteed chance to have the USMNT in town this time around when CONCACAF released the schedule for this edition of the biennial event.
"We were a little worried [Monday morning] that the tickets weren't sold and then both AO National and our chapter put out a social media push, and by the evening, all of those tickets were sold," Brown said. "We're expecting a full section, which is exciting. We'll have capos and a drum and we have a really exciting tifo planned, so we hope we have a really full American Outlaws section, whether it's members or prospective members."
So what are capos and a tifo, you ask?
Well, capos are definitely the simpler of the two. They are the guys and/or gals you'll see standing at the front of the section leading the cheers. Usually, they'll be atop ladders or stools and it's typically pretty hard to miss their voices.
Tifos are also pretty damn cool. Soccer fans all over the world love to get creative, and MLS supporters are no exception. Just take a look at some of these sick tifos and you'll probably get the gist.
I hope this doesn’t trigger you: https://t.co/LXFsRDaDjF— Andrew (@AGSHender) July 17, 2017
Wednesday night will be my first-ever chance to see the USMNT in person — I had tickets to that Gold Cup final two years ago, sadly — and I'll be just a section over from the Outlaws. And with FIFA on a fast track to potentially award the 2026 World Cup to the United States, Canada and Mexico in a joint bid, it should be interesting to see if the Philly fans can do enough to prove to the U.S. Soccer Federation that they are deserving of being one of the host sites for the world's premier soccer event.
"We're hoping because Lincoln Financial Field is a great stadium for the World Cup and Philly would be a great host city," Brown said. "I would love in 2026 if we had a game. I don't think I'll be around anymore to do any of the planning, but Philly will still be around and I'd love for this chapter to be able to host people from all over the world, theoretically. How amazing would that be?"
After the Stars and Stripes played with an MLS-heavy roster during its first three games, the Americans' big guns will be in town Wednesday as knockout play begins. Head coach Bruce Arena will likely have Jozy Altidore, Clint Dempsey and Michael Bradley all in the starting XI with regular goalie Tim Howard back in net.
So with increased pressure, the team is expected to take its play to a higher level. Fortunately, the Americans are heavy favorites against El Salvador with Vegas making the U.S. -500 favorites in the matchup.
But higher stakes also mean higher expectations for the supporters' section — and Philadelphia's American Outlaws are ready to step up as well.