clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Ranking the Philadelphia Union's all-time goal scorers

A close look at the top ten goal scorers in the six year history of the Union followed by a list of all the goal scorers.

Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

To the scorers go the spoils. That's the truth in any sport and is true in soccer as well. The top ten goal scorers in Major League Soccer make 17% of the compensation paid to the entire league. Worth all that money or not, the goal scorers kiss the babies, put fans in seats, and arguably, win soccer games.

The Philadelphia Union have completed their sixth season, and they've thrown their share of goal scorers out on the pitch. Some have been young kids trying to make their way, and others have been veterans of the craft. Which ones performed the best for the Blue and Gold? It's not simply a question of how many goals they scored in a Union uniform. Goal scorers are valued by efficiency, as well as the ability to score the exceptionally difficult goal. While sheer volume of goals will be the most important statistic in this ranking, the player's shooting percentage and how that shooting percentage compares to how many goals an average shooter would have scored taking the same shots will also be factors. There is one hard rule to make this list. A player's shooting percentage cannot be lower than the expected shooting percentage of an average shooter taking the same shots. This removes players like Danny Cruz and Andrew Wenger from consideration, which I don't think will cause anyone too much heartburn.

Without further ceremony, here are the top ten scorers in Union history and our selection of the top goal scored by each player.

10. Vincent Noguiera

Total Goals MLS Goals USOC Goals MLS Shots MLS Average Shooter Goals MLS Shooting % MLS Avg. Shooting % Actual - Avg. %
Vincent Nogueira 7 7 0 82 4.9 8.5% 6.0% 2.5%

Wait, hold on, a midfielder to start the scoring list? And one with a paltry 8.5% shooting percentage? His seven career goals tie him for sixth on the Union all-time list but what is most interesting is that his expected shooting percentage is just 6%. That means he takes really difficult shots and actually makes a better percentage of them than expected. Here's one of those crazy shots.

9. Carlos Ruiz

Total Goals MLS Goals USOC Goals MLS Shots MLS Average Shooter Goals MLS Shooting % MLS Avg. Shooting % Actual - Avg. %
Carlos Ruiz 7 6 1 35 5.3 17.1% 15.1% 2.0%

Ruiz is easily the most prolific goal scorer to ever don a Union uniform.  His seven career goals for the Union are just a mere fraction of his nearly 300 career goals for club and country. He appeared in just 14 MLS games for the Union during their lone playoff season, but scored six times and added another goal in U.S. Open Cup play. This volley below was probably the most absurd goal in Union history.

8. Antoine Hoppenot

Total Goals MLS Goals USOC Goals MLS Shots MLS Average Shooter Goals MLS Shooting % MLS Avg. Shooting % Actual - Avg. %
Antoine Hoppenot 8 7 1 41 6.4 17.1% 15.7% 1.4%

Seeing Hoppenot ahead of Carlos Ruiz on any soccer list may have you questioning the existence of God. Human suffering and now this? But consider that Antoine's matched Ruiz's impressive shooting percentage at 17.1%. Antoine's extra goal gives him the slight edge. Check out this nifty finish to give the Union a road win at Vancouver.

7. Gabriel Gomez

Total Goals MLS Goals USOC Goals MLS Shots MLS Average Shooter Goals MLS Shooting % MLS Avg. Shooting % Actual - Avg. %
Gabriel Gomez 7 6 1 30 2.8 20.0% 9.4% 10.6%

Gomez tallied six goals in the disastrous 2012 season and tacked on another in Open Cup play. He scored on 20% of his shots when an average player would have scored on just 9.4% of them, and that 10.6% difference is the best in Union history for a player with at least 30 shots. 2012 was the best year of Gomez's career from a goal scoring perspective.

6. Freddy Adu

Total Goals MLS Goals USOC Goals MLS Shots MLS Average Shooter Goals MLS Shooting % MLS Avg. Shooting % Actual - Avg. %
Freddy Adu 10 7 3 48 5.5 14.6% 11.4% 3.2%

The Freddy Adu experiment arrived in Philadelphia in 2011. Adu delivered seven goals in 35 MLS games and scored three times in the US Open Cup. His 14.6% shooting percentage isn't bad and that was a higher figure than an average shooter. These numbers aren't spectacular nor are they terrible, but if you come with high expectations and a bloated salary, things will end badly. This finish didn't end badly however.

5. CJ Sapong

Total Goals MLS Goals USOC Goals MLS Shots MLS Average Shooter Goals MLS Shooting % MLS Avg. Shooting % Actual - Avg. %
CJ Sapong 9 9 0 43 7.1 20.9% 16.4% 4.5%

After just one season in the blue and gold CJ Sapong cracks the top five goal scorers in history. His nine Union goals were created by the franchise single season high 20.9% shooting percentage. The average shooter would have finished 16.4% however, meaning that Sapong has taken high percentage shots. Questions remain whether or not Sapong can carry the lone striker load for a playoff contender, but for now we'll welcome CJ to the Union top five.

4. Danny Mwanga

Total Goals MLS Goals USOC Goals MLS Shots MLS Average Shooter Goals MLS Shooting % MLS Avg. Shooting % Actual - Avg. %
Danny Mwanga* 12 12 0 64 6.4 18.8% 10.0% 8.8%

* MLS Average Shooting % not available for 2010 season (estimated used)

Mwanga started out with so much promise. The first overall pick by the Union in their first SuperDraft, Mwanga netted seven goals as a rookie on just 24 shots. Unfortunately he's only scored nine goals since his rookie season. His 12 Union goals are good enough to rank him as the fourth on this ranking. His shooting percentage of 18.8% overall is very impressive, especially considering the average shooter would have made just 10.0%. This past season, Mwanga appeared in just four games and did not score for Orlando City SC. Time is running out for Mwanga to resurrect his once promising career.

3. Jack McInerney

Total Goals MLS Goals USOC Goals MLS Shots MLS Average Shooter Goals MLS Shooting % MLS Avg. Shooting % Actual - Avg. %
Jack McInerney* 28 25 3 153 21.0 16.3% 13.7% 2.6%

Choosing between number three and number two on this list is a close call. McInerney has scored the second most goals in Union history with 28, and had a solid 16.3% shooting percentage. Jack was taken just six picks later than Mwanga in the 2010 SuperDraft, and it certainly appeared that the Union had their forwards of the future. However, the pair would eventually be traded after failing to develop. The Union landed Andrew Wenger for McInerney and received Jorge Perlaza from the Timbers for Danny Mwanga. Here is a nifty run and solid left foot from McInerney.

2. Conor Casey

Total Goals MLS Goals USOC Goals MLS Shots MLS Average Shooter Goals MLS Shooting % MLS Avg. Shooting % Actual - Avg. %
Conor Casey 22 21 1 117 16.4 17.9% 14.0% 3.9%

Casey has scored six fewer Union goals than McInerney but he's managed a very impressive 17.9% shooting percentage in his three years with the Union. His efficiency gives him the slightest edge over McInerney for the second spot. Casey has had an impressive career and he's been a joy to watch in his time with the Union, showing a variety of ways to score. Here's a classic Casey goal, using that bald head and his body as a missile to find the back of the net.

1. Sebastien Le Toux

Total Goals MLS Goals USOC Goals MLS Shots MLS Average Shooter Goals MLS Shooting % MLS Avg. Shooting % Actual - Avg. %
Sebastien Le Toux* 54 48 6 306 41.1 15.7% 13.4% 2.2%

This is probably the most anticlimactic selection of any soccer list. Le Toux is far and away the Union's all-time leading goal scorer with 54 goals in both MLS and in the U.S. Open Cup. He's an efficient shooter as well with a 15.7% shooting percentage but those numbers are boosted somewhat by his penalty kicks. Because Le Toux has been so clutch and so dependable for so long, we've got two goals for the Union's greatest goal scorer.

Here is a list of all of the individual goal scorers for the Union:

Player Total Goals MLS Goals USOC Goals MLS Shots MLS Shooting %
Sebastien Le Toux 54 48 6 306 15.7%
Jack McInerney 28 25 3 153 16.3%
Conor Casey 22 21 1 117 17.9%
Danny Mwanga 12 12 64 18.8%
Freddy Adu 10 7 3 48 14.6%
Andrew Wenger 10 8 2 89 9.0%
C.J. Sapong 9 9 40 22.5%
Antoine Hoppenot 8 7 1 41 17.1%
Gabriel Gomez 7 6 1 30 20.0%
Carlos Ruiz 7 6 1 35 17.1%
Lionard Pajoy 7 5 2 36 13.9%
Sheanon Williams 7 7 65 10.8%
Brian Carroll 7 4 3 73 5.5%
Vincent Nogueira 7 7 82 8.5%
Danny Cruz 7 7 130 5.4%
Maurice Edu 6 4 2 59 6.8%
Amobi Okugo 6 5 1 82 6.1%
Helbert (Fred) da Silva 5 5 28 17.9%
Fernando Aristeguieta 5 5 47 10.6%
Eric Ayuk Mbu 4 2 2 14 14.3%
Justin Mapp 4 4 40 10.0%
Michael Farfan 4 4 116 3.4%
Roger Torres 3 3 25 12.0%
Fabio Alves Macedo 3 2 1 29 6.9%
Zach Pfeffer 3 3 32 9.4%
Veljko Paunovic 3 3 33 9.1%
Carlos Valdes 3 3 47 6.4%
Cristian Maidana 3 3 74 4.1%
Brian Brown 2 2 5 40.0%
Pedro Ribeiro 2 2 11 18.2%
Michael Orozco Fiscal 2 2 14 14.3%
Josue Martinez 2 1 1 15 6.7%
Alejandro Moreno 2 2 18 11.1%
Leonardo Fernandes 2 2 26 7.7%
Keon Daniel 2 2 54 3.7%
Warren Creavalle 1 1 4 25.0%
Gabriel Farfan 1 1 8 12.5%
Danny Califf 1 1 9 11.1%
Jordan Harvey 1 1 9 11.1%
Shea Salinas 1 1 11 9.1%
Tranquillo Barnetta 1 1 13 7.7%
Aaron Wheeler 1 1 14 7.1%
Kyle Nakazawa 1 1 15 6.7%
Jose Kleberson 1 1 24 4.2%

Data compiled from AmericanSoccerAnalysis.com, mlssoccer.com and soccerway.com

If you have any gripes with the top goals we selected, please send all complaints to @DougGobrecht.