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Fans flock to Philadelphia v Inter Miami match, mesmerized by Messi's presence

Lionel Messi's presence draws a record crowd to Philadelphia Union's match, with ticket prices soaring and fans flocking to see the soccer legend.

On a typical Tuesday night at Subaru Park, the home of the Philadelphia Union, you wouldn't expect to see television news helicopters circling overhead or the tailgate lots and pregame festivities packed with excited fans. But this wasn't a typical night. This was a night that involved Lionel Messi, one of the greatest soccer players of all time.

For fans like Darren Dragish, this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Dragish, who traveled from Downingtown with his kids, left work early just to have a chance to kick a ball around and soak in the atmosphere before the Union's League Cup semifinal match against Inter Miami. The excitement was palpable, with pink No. 10 jerseys, both from Messi's Argentina and FC Barcelona days, filling the crowd.

The star power of Messi, a seven-time Ballon d'Or winner and reigning World Cup champion, drew a vibrant and raucous crowd to Subaru Park. Ticket prices soared, and it was expected to be a record-breaking attendance for the Union.

But let's not forget about the home team. The Union have been on a remarkable rise in Major League Soccer, coming off a strong season and currently on a 15-match unbeaten streak. They have proven themselves to be a formidable team. Yet, leading up to this match, everyone knew who the main attraction was. Even Union coach Jim Curtin pleaded with fans not to sell their tickets, no matter the price.

And the prices were steep. Standing-room seats were going for $290 on Ticketmaster, while a regular seat would cost you $442. Other ticket marketplaces had similar prices, with the average ticket price reaching $556, the highest in team history.

The anticipation for this matchup had been building for weeks. Fans like Brad Erdmana and Jamie Allen had been counting down the matches to a possible Messi showdown since the knockout stages of the Leagues Cup began. They left work early just to soak in the atmosphere and be a part of this historic event. The hype surrounding this game was comparable to the excitement of the Phillies' run to the World Series last season.

The Union's home attendance record was expected to be shattered on this night. The previous record of 19,770, set when they clinched a berth in the MLS Cup Final, would pale in comparison to the crowd that Messi would draw.

For fans like Cesar Gavilanes and his family, this was a decision made at the last minute. They traveled from Long Island, all decked out in Messi jerseys, to see their idol in person. It was their first time seeing Messi live, and Gavilanes explained that Messi's character and humility were the reasons his eldest son got into playing soccer.

Overall, this was a night that will be remembered for years to come. The atmosphere, the excitement, and the chance to witness a legend of the game in action created a buzz that was felt throughout Subaru Park. It was a night where the Union shared the spotlight with Messi, and the fans couldn't have been more thrilled to be a part of it.

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