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New York City Football Club face off against Philadelphia Union on Sunday afternoon.

For this edition of 'The Away End' presented by Berkeley College & Rennert International, we spoke to the Union's mascot, Phang.

Hi Phang, thanks for speaking with us! What's the best thing about being the Philadelphia Union mascot?

There's really no bad part about being a mascot, but the best thing, I would have to say, is interacting with fans! Whether it's on gameday, on social media or even in interviews like this, I love the beautiful game and meeting new people to share it with. (Also, Jim Curtin gives me free snacks, but don't tell anyone)​

Are you friends with any of the other MLS mascots?

​Before and after the match, I'm friends with everyone. We all trash talk on social media but that's all in good fun. There's mutual respect and admiration amongst us. Though I did notice that Leo the Lion didn't name me as one of his besties. Makes a snake wonder whether absence makes the heart grow fonder. My heart will go on, Leo.

Do you have a favorite Union player?

​How in the world could you ask me such a question. Everyone who's ever suited up for the blue and gold is my favorite. Stu Findlay and I bonded because he wears blue and likes to race and I am a blue racer, Ale Bedoya and I love to look at art together, and me and Jose "Brujo" Martinez and I both main Kirby in Smash Bros. But, if you're really pressuring me for my favorite favorite, I can't lie. It has to be Mark McKenzie. He was my best friend and I miss him.

The team were crowned Supporters' Shield winners in 2020. What have been your favorite memories with the team?

I can’t lie, we got pretty wild after winning the shield so that was a great moment! I’ve been here for some all-time moments… the Jakob bangers, Andre Blake being Andre Blake….but I think my favorite memory ever was when Jack McGlynn, one of our Homegrown players, scored a penalty kick in the playoffs against Nashville and did an ‘ice in the veins’ celebration. As a cold-blooded animal, I really felt that. ​

We know you are 'the biggest, best, and most dedicated Union soccer fan in the world', but if you were to play for the team, what position would you want to try?

Well since a snake’s skeleton is mostly vertebrae, ​I see myself finding a place in the spine of the team, so defensive midfielder like El Brujo Martinez or center back like my ​fellow tall boys Jack Elliott and Jakob Glesnes. I guess a snake should want to be a striker since that’s often how we attack our prey, but honestly I’ve got big anaconda energy — I’m really more of a hugger.

For any of our fans that might be in Philadelphia in the near future do you have any favorite spots or hangouts you'd suggest?

Definitely Subaru Park, though I have to tell you that Philly fans have their own special way of welcoming people from New York. I also recommend a visit to the Philly Zoo since they have three snakes named after current and former Union players (and it’s where I was hatched!). One of my other favorite spots is called Neon Alley. It’s a small collection of outdoor art in an alley just behind the famous cheesesteak spots in South Philly. If you go, make sure to invite me!