The700Level

American Outlaws ready to bring their 'Philly touch' to the Linc

American Outlaws ready to bring their 'Philly touch' to the Linc

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.

Nice #USMNT tifo of Christian Pulisic holding up #DosACero

A post shared by Ives Galarcep (@ivesgalarcep) on

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.

Joel Embiid expects 90 percent of his tweets to go viral

ap-joel-embiid.jpg

Joel Embiid expects 90 percent of his tweets to go viral

One of the things that I love about Joel Embiid is the fact that it seems like every day we find another reason to love him even more.

Today's entry comes from a profile in GQ magazine in which he talks about plenty of things. But it was one of the first things he was asked about his Twitter account that had me rolling once again.

How do you find out if one of [your tweet] has gone viral, then?

Joel: I think 90 percent of them [will be viral]. That’s the expectation.

Amazing. The thing is, I don't know if he's giving himself enough credit. ONLY 90%????

Oh, and he subscribes to the Jah Rule school of thought: WHO CARES?

"Then I had so much time, too, because I missed that whole year and the second year after, so I didn’t have anything to do," Embiid said. "[I’d] just go on social media and converse with fans, make crazy jokes, and tweet crazy stuff because I don’t care. I say whatever I want to."

His critique of other players' boring Twitter accounts is also incredibly on point:

What do you mean some guys are always tweeting the same thing?

Joel: Bullshit like, “Game Day!” “It’s a great game.” I don’t know. They’re all the same. It’s boring.

Amen.

The whole Q&A is worth any Sixers fan's time just to get to know a little more about Jojo. Be happy he's ours. And pray he stays healthy so he can take his game on the court to the same level as his game off of it.

Eagles-hater Pete Morelli allowed to referee future Birds' games

usa-pete-morelli-nfl.jpg
USA Today Images

Eagles-hater Pete Morelli allowed to referee future Birds' games

If you like penalties and hate the Eagles, you clicked on the right story.

Alleged Eagles hater Pete Morelli will be allowed to referee future Birds' games after the league found no signs of bias towards the Eagles. 

How's this for bias? In a Week 6 win over the Panthers, the Eagles were flagged 10 times for 126 yards. Compare that to the Panthers' one penalty for one yard and you see the problem.

But it wasn't the first time Morelli got flag-happy against the Eagles. In Morelli's last 4 Eagles' games — all away from the Linc — his crew has thrown 40 penalties for 396 yards to opponents' eight penalties for 74 yards. I'm not a numbers guy, but something seems off here.

In true Philly sports fashion, the Eagles will now reach the Super Bowl where Morelli and Co. will be waiting to rain yellow on the field, leading to an Andy Reid-led Chiefs' victory where Reid orchestrates an efficient two-minute game-winning drive, perfectly utilizing all three timeouts.