Top 10 in 2010: A Clean Sheet At Last

Top 10 in 2010 continues with #7, the first shutout in club history

Over the next two weeks,
philadelphiaunion.com will be counting down the top 10 moments of the Union’s
inaugural season as part of our Top 10 in 2010 series. It wasn’t easy narrowing
down a historic season filled with countless memories, but here’s our best
attempt. Feel free to leave your reactions or personal memories in the comments
section below.

The number
seven moment in our Top 10 in 2010 countdown was memorable for a number of
reasons, but the overwhelming emotion following the Union’s 1-0 victory over
the Chicago Fire on September 11 was relief.

22 league matches,
zero shutouts. That’s how Philadelphia started their inaugural campaign, with a
number of costly defensive miscues hindering an otherwise impressively cohesive
expansion side.

Goalkeeper
Chris Seitz had his moments as the Union’s unquestioned starter -- his penalty
kick save in the PPL Park Opener was one of the highlights of the season -- and
at times he was unfairly criticized for mistakes made in front of him. But
there were undoubtedly some soft goals along the way, and the final straw for
Manager Peter Nowak was when Kansas City’s Davy Arnaud scored off a free
kick from an improbable angle to equalize on September 4.

A week later, and
10 days after a sparkling performance against Chivas Guadalajara, Brad Knighton
got his shot.

In front of a
capacity crowd at PPL Park, Philadelphia’s superiority in the run of play
translated to the match’s lone goal in the 36
th minute when Justin
Mapp sent Sebastien Le Toux in all alone on goalkeeper Sean Johnson. Le Toux
squared as if he were aiming far post, only to close his hips and bury the
go-ahead goal near post for his 11
th tally of the season.

Coming into
the match with a three match unbeaten stretch, confidence was already at a high
despite forfeiting two points against the Wizards. At 5-12-5, a win was
necessary to stay in playoff contention, but there was far more at stake. The
MLS record for the least number of shutouts recorded in a season was (and still is) two, and
there was an unnerving feeling that something would always go wrong to prevent
Philadelphia from keeping a clean sheet.

Not this time,
though. Enough was enough.

Knighton
stoned both Freddie Ljungberg and Collins Johns in the first half, Calen Carr
missed a wide open net from close range in the 75
th minute, and the
Union backline, boosted by Sheanon Williams' first career start, held up their end of the bargain en route to a 1-0 shutout
victory.

It was as if the weight of the Commodore Barry Bridge was lifted off of the club’s
shoulders. Maybe the Union weren’t cursed after all. The four match unbeaten
streak in all competitions wound up being the longest of the season for
Philadelphia, but this moment was all about the shutout.

Never has a
zero felt so good.

WATCH: FULL MATCH HIGHLIGHTS

Top 10 in 2010:

#10: The 95th Minute PK

#9: Two to Win It

#8: An International Statement