Throwback Thursday: The Philadelphia Union’s Lone MLS Playoffs Appearance


The 2014 MLS Cup Playoffs are underway and for the third straight year the Philadelphia Union players are watching from home. In 2011, they made the playoffs for the first time and gave hope to the Sons of Ben and other Philadelphia Union fans and supporters.

More from Editorials

2011 was the Union’s second MLS season filled with much promise. After their inaugural season, Philadelphia looked to make their first MLS Playoffs appearance just two seasons in. In the end, they qualified behind strong play by Frenchman Sebastian Le Toux. He led the Union with 11 goals.

Peter Nowak was the man in charge on the field. The 2011 season ended up being Nowak’s final full-season in town as he was fired half-way through the 2012 season.

Yet, it appeared the Union were destined to make a successful playoff run. However, the Houston Dynamo had another plan in mind. The two-legged Conference Semifinals kicked off on October 30. Philadelphia hosted the October 30th leg, while Houston hosted the second leg on November 3rd.

In the first leg, the scoring started before some of the 18,539 fans were even seated inside PPL Park. Houston took the lead in the sixth minute thanks to a Andre Hainault goal. A minute later Sebastien Le Toux found the equalizer and scored the Union’s first ever playoff goal.

Live Feed

Winning Mentality: Orlando City Overcomes Challenges and Shines in Victory
Winning Mentality: Orlando City Overcomes Challenges and Shines in Victory /

MLS Multiplex

  • Sporting Kansas City: Determination and Maturity on the Path to the PlayoffsMLS Multiplex
  • Agustín Rossi Without Playing for Flamengo: A Good Goalkeeper for MLS?MLS Multiplex
  • Messi at the 2024 Olympics: A Golden Opportunity for ArgentinaMLS Multiplex
  • Geovane Jesus' Injury Shakes Up FC Dallas: What Are the Team's Options?MLS Multiplex
  • Jean Pyerre: Challenges and Lessons in MLSMLS Multiplex
  • Philadelphia wouldn’t be able to preserve the tie for long as the Dynamo kept knocking on the door. In the 30th minute, Calen Carr scored the eventual game-winning goal. After one leg, the Dynamo led 2-1 on aggregate scoring.

    On the road, the Union’s luck didn’t change. Brian Ching’s goal in stoppage time right before halftime clinched advancement for Houston. In the end, Houston advanced to the next round 3-1 on aggregate scoring and made it all the way to the MLS Cup Championship. They fell to the Los Angeles Galaxy 1-0 with Landon Donovan scoring the game’s lone goal in the 72′.

    For Philadelphia, 2011 has been the only season they’ve found themselves in the playoffs. Since then, it’s been three seasons filled with hope, potential, and three coaches in five years, but each season has ended in disappointment.

    The offseason will be a crucial time for the Union. For now, Union fans are left wondering what could have been since their team’s first playoff berth back in 2011.

    Next: Messiah College's Audra Larson Breaks NCAA Division III Shutout Record