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 we've whittled the list down to our very favorites. Feel free to leave your reactions or personal memories in the comments section below.
Before we even get to the first entry of the Top 10 in 2010, we’ll throw in an honorable mention. It was the Union’s most convincing victory of the season, a 3-0 thrashing of Chivas USA at home. With only six matches to go, playoff hopes were already dim, so there wasn’t a ton of pressure applied by the standings.
Philadelphia hadn’t won by more than a single goal since the opening of PPL Park three months prior. The Union backline had settled down, giving up more than two goals only once in 18 matches, and that was due to a red card against Dallas in just the 22nd minute. But Peter Nowak’s side was only averaging a goal per game over the last 13 matches, despite often creating a number of scoring opportunities.
[inline_node:287869]What the Union needed was a blowout, and on September 25 it’s what they got.
First half goals from Alejandro Moreno and Fred gave Philadelphia control, and Sebastien Le Toux slid the nail in the coffin in the 69th minute, with all three tallies coming off of set pieces. What’s more, Brad Knighton and the Union defense secured their second consecutive home shutout after opening the season without a clean sheet for 22 matches.
The largest margin of victory all season. 16,481 happy Union fans at PPL Park. 94 WYSP talk show host Danny Bonaduce pledging to fulfill his promise to jump in the Delaware River if the Union won by two goals or more (will happen early in 2011). All that and it can’t even crack our Top 10 in 2010.
WATCH: FULL MATCH HIGHLIGHTS
The Top 10 in 2010 begins with ... Number 10: The 95th Minute PK
To jumpstart our Top 10 in 2010, we’re pulling out the latest goal scored all season, which is saying something for a club that rippled the back of the net on five occasions in stoppage time. A 1-0 victory against Celtic FC on July 14 helped erase some of the pain caused by one of the most crushing defeats of the season, a 2-1 loss to San Jose at home on July 10, a match that was thoroughly dominated by Philadelphia in every area other than where it counts most.
At 3-8-2, the Union desperately needed points with Toronto FC coming to town. In many ways, it felt like three points were necessary to keep playoff hopes alive, even with the season less than halfway over.
The match remained scoreless until the 61st minute, with the best scoring chance originating from a nifty move by Sebastien Le Toux in close quarters that resulted in Jordan Harvey hitting woodwork in first half extra time. Just as a sense of urgency was beginning to set in, Michael Orozco Fiscal came through in a big way, sneaking Le Toux’s perfectly placed corner within the near post for a 1-0 lead. It was the first header goal off a set piece in franchise history for the Union, and it couldn’t have come at a better time.
With the Union cruising towards a 1-0 victory and their first-ever shutout, Chad Barrett had other ideas. Barrett simply flicked a throw-in from Dan Gargan with his head off the fingertips of an outstretched Chris Seitz and into the net, silencing the crowd of 17,251.
[inline_node:287870]With the Union seemingly headed towards a second straight disappointing home result, the match took another dramatic turn in the third minute of extra time. Cristian Arrieta floated a hopeful ball into the area, and it fell to Toronto defender Maxim Usanov. While attempting to head the ball away from danger, Usanov instead directed it into his left hand. But a penalty kick wasn’t called until Jack McInerney gathered the loose ball and struck a shot into the same hand seconds later.
With the final whistle waiting only for Le Toux’s PK, the Frenchman stepped up and did what he did every time he was called upon at the spot this year. It was a thrilling victory at PPL Park, sending the home fans into a frenzy and, at least for the time being, keeping Philadelphia's playoff hopes alive.
WATCH: FULL MATCH HIGHLIGHTS