THE POTTERS round off their USA Tour with arguably their toughest game so far when they face Philadelphia Union on Tuesday evening.
Although only set up in 2010, the Union have enjoyed steady progress in front of jam-packed crowds and are the highest ranked team out of Stoke's three stateside opponents.
Currently standing fourth in the Eastern Conference, four points ahead of Houston Dynamo, they are well on course for the end of season Play Offs.
Although they lost to Houston four games ago and drew at Dallas recently too, they swept aside the New York Red Bulls 3-0 and Chiva USA 3-1, whilst coming away from Vancouver Whitecaps with a 1-0 victory at the weekend.
All three points in that game came thanks to Antoine Hoppenot's 85th minute strike and his goal broke the Whitecaps' unbeaten 2013 home record.
It was only the French-born American striker's third of the season as Jack McInerney (10) and Conor Casey (7) have been notching most of the goals.
McInerney has actually been away with City winger Brek Shea for the US national team's successful CONCACAF Gold Cup campaign and although he didn't feature during the tournament, he will return buoyed by the team's success.
He will join his Philadelphia team-mates looking for a positive result against the Potters to inspire them ahead of a double header of home games against Chicago Fire and DC United.
There is still a chance of them equalling, and even surpassing, their best conference finish of third from 2011, and you wouldn't bet against them doing that.
Last season they followed up that success by reaching the US Open Cup Semi Finals and they could surprise one or two people come the end of the year too.
They have experienced players in the camp and that has certainly helped them this season. Former Manchester United and Brazil midfielder Kleberson is on the books whilst Casey, Chris Albright and Jeff Parke are also seasoned pros.
The Club itself though are infants in the MLS compared to FC Dallas and even Houston Dynamo, having only been awarded the sixteenth franchise in 2008.
It took a couple of years to launch the team and build their stadium; the 18,500-capacity PPL Park, in time for the 2010 season.
Did you know?
- One-time US prodigy Freddy Adu played for Philadelphia Union after joining from Benfica in 2011. In April he moved to Brazilian outfit Bahia on loan, with Kleberson moving the opposite way
- They beat Everton 2-1 in a friendly in 2011 but lost by the same scoreline to Manchester United (2010) and Aston Villa (2012)
- Other teams representing the city of Philadelphia are baseball side Philadelphia Phillies, basketball team Philadelphia 76ers and hockey outfit Philadelphia Flyers
- Philadelphia is the fifth most populated city in the US behind New York, LA, Chicago and Houston
- Although Union represent Philadelphia, they are actually based in nearby satellite-city Chester, which is around 18 miles down the Delaware River from the city centre.