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Officially Official: Union lose their way into playoffs

The Union will enter the playoffs on a historic winless streak.

MLS: New York Red Bulls at Philadelphia Union
Bradley Wright-Phillips taps in the winning goal.
Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

On Sunday evening, the Philadelphia Union officially became a playoff team for the first time since 2011. Despite the feat, boos filled the rapidly emptying stadium after the final whistle. Though the Union finally clinched a spot in the playoffs, they did so with a 2-0 loss to their I-95 rivals, the New York Red Bulls. Bradley Wright-Phillips and Alex Muyl got the goals for the Red Bulls, with the former scoring his 24th goal to secure the Golden Boot.

Perhaps it was a fitting end to a regular season that saw the Union begin an unrelenting nosedive in mid-July. That drop down the standings has intensified over the past two months, as the Union went without a win in their final seven games, securing only two points during that time. Since MLS did away with shootouts after the 1999 season, no team has entered the playoffs on the back of such a dreadful stretch, and only one team (Real Salt Lake in 2005) has ever ended their season so poorly.

The Union, who occupy the sixth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, will take on third-place Toronto FC in their knockout round match. As the higher seed, Toronto will host the game, which is set to take place at 7:30 on Wednesday night.


  • With Tranquillo Barnetta, Chris Pontius, and CJ Sapong all sporting minor injuries, Jim Curtin rotated his attack quite a bit. Fabian Herbers moved up top, Ilsinho and Roland Alberg both got a run out, and Eric Ayuk made his return to the first team. The new unit failed to create much of anything, as the Union have now gone 215 minutes without scoring at home. Fortunately for the Union, Sapong and Barnetta were healthy enough to make substitute appearances, and Jim Curtin says Chris Pontius will be ready to play on Wednesday.
  • Keegan Rosenberry went all 90 minutes on Sunday, becoming the first rookie to play every minute of a 34-game season. Rosenberry also joins club legend Sebastien Le Toux as the second Union man to play a full season.
  • Maurice Edu, who fractured his fibula earlier this week, was set to start today’s game before the injury.
  • Bradley Wright-Phillips claimed his second Golden Boot in the past three seasons, making him one of five players to win the award more than once.