Falling short of lifting the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup trophy, missing the playoffs for the fifth time in six seasons (amid an extended drought in the local sports landscape) despite competing with expansion teams in a conference where 6 of 10 qualify, abandoned warehouses and vacant fields remaining where significant mixed-use development was meant to take place, and bracing for another offseason filled with question marks, there are plenty of reasons to be down in the dumps as a Philadelphia Union fan.
Parting ways with Nick Sakiewicz, hiring Earnie Stewart as Sporting Director, starting a team-operated USL side with Brendan Burke at the helm, rounding out the practice facility, signing Tranquillo Barnetta, building on successes at the academy level, securing a top 3 spot (likely cap-free/adidas-funded) in the upcoming SuperDraft, finally feeling like the goalkeeping situation may have worked itself out, and heading into the offseason with a ton of roster flexibility, there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic as a Philadelphia Union fan.
Best of times, worst of times.
No matter which way you spin it, this offseason is a great time to reflect on where the guys on the roster (if only for the next few weeks) stack up in terms of team and league history. To hold you over between now and the next flurry of Union personnel decisions, here are some interesting facts and figures to consider...
Brian Carroll has voiced an interest in trying to play one more season before hanging up his boots to assist the team in some other capacity. If his career were to come to an end this off-season, however, he would finish fourth all-time in field player minutes (just 16 minutes fewer than Bobby Boswell), fourth in field player starts (three fewer than Brad Davis), and sixth in field player appearances.
Zach Pfeffer, Zac MacMath, Brian Carroll, and Sebastien Le Toux are the only remaining players on the Union books who made an appearance for the team during the 2011 playoff-bound season. Carroll deserves an asterisk in that group, as the other three have since spent time away from the team on extended loans or because of trades.
Cristian Maidana’s 15 assists were second best in the league this season (one behind league-leader Sebastian Giovinco and level with Benny Feilhaber). Either Chaco or Seba has placed in the top 10 on the league assists chart every year but 2012… the only season neither were on the team.
Year: Team Assist Leader (League Rank) - Assist Total
2015: Maidana (T-2nd) - 15
2014: Maidana (T-8th) - 11
2013: Le Toux (2nd) - 12
2012: M. Farfan (T-34th) - 5
2011: Le Toux (T-5th) - 9
2010: Le Toux (4th) - 11
Conor Casey’s minutes and production were far more limited in his third season with Philadelphia (by design), but when looking at his full body of MLS work, he sits tied with Ronald Cerritos for 22nd all-time in league scoring with 71 goals - just one behind Juan Pablo Angel. The only active players with more: Chris Wondolowski, Edson Buddle, Kenny Cooper, Kei Kamara, and Robbie Keane.
Through six seasons, 44 different players have scored for the Union:
48 (+1 playoff goal) - Sebastien Le Toux
25 - Jack McInerney
21 - Conor Casey
12 - Danny Mwanga
9 - CJ Sapong
7 - Vincent Nogueira, Andrew Wenger, Freddy Adu, Danny Cruz, Antoine Hoppenot, Sheanon Williams
6 - Carlos Ruiz, Gabriel Gomez
5 - Fernando Aristeguieta, Lionard Pajoy, Fred, Amobi Okugo
4 - Maurice Edu, MIchael Farfan, Brian Carroll, Justin Mapp
3 - Roger Torres, Zach Pfeffer, Cristian Maidana, Carlos Valdes, Veljko Paunovic
2 - Leo Fernandes, Pedro Ribeiro, Fabinho, Eric Ayuk, Brian Brown, Alejandro Moreno, Michael Orozco-Fiscal, Keon Daniel
1 - Steven Vitoria, Tranquillo Barnetta, Aaron Wheeler, Josue Martinez, Kleberson, Jordan Harvey, Shea Salinas, Gabriel Farfan, Danny Califf, Kyle Nakazawa
In that same span of time, eight goalkeepers have recorded at least one win:
34 - Zac MacMath
8 - Faryd Mondragon
5 - Brian Sylvestre, Chris Seitz
3 - John McCarthy, Brad Knighton
2 - Andre Blake
1 - Rais M'Bolhi
The 2015 edition of the Under 90 First Team Minutes Played Club:
Fred (83), Raymond Lee (12 & waived), Antoine Hoppenot (4), Jimmy McLaughiln (1), Eric Bird (0), Dzenan Catic (0).
Jimmy McLaughlin has played a total of 19 minutes for the first team since signing as a Homegrown Player in 2012 - a 17-minute appearance for John Hackworth in 2012 and two 1-minute appearances under Jim Curtin between 2014 and 2015.
Antoine Hoppenot has amassed 69 appearances and 1753 minutes of playing time in four seasons with the Union, but only three appearances (13 minutes on 10/2/14, 5 minutes on 10/10/14, and 4 minutes on 3/29/15) under Curtin.
C.J. Sapong led the 2015 edition of the Union in fouls committed with 38, which paled in comparison to Michael Farfan’s 76 committed in 2012, which wasn’t far from breaking the single-season record.
Sapong managed to match his best goalscoring output (9 in 2012), despite his time away from the team due to concussion, zygomatic fracture, and DUI suspension.
Seba's probably out of reach, but do you think there’s any chance a current player could pass Jack McInerney in the team goalscoring standings? Think the team should make a big deal every time a goalkeeper notches his M'Bolhi-beating 2nd win for the club? Will Barnetta lock down the #10 spot for himself and lead the team in assists next season? Leave your thoughts below!