The Philadelphia Union are in the playoffs for the first time in half a decade yet most fans are probably feeling numb to the good news. One reason for the indifference is the seven game winless streak the team is currently suffering through, a two point streak where the team has scored just five goals and allowed fourteen.
But the other reason must be that this is not really much of a playoff team at all. In fact the Union's 42 points (1.23 points per game) is the lowest to make the playoffs since 2006. The Union's hated rival the New York Red Bulls made the 2006 playoffs with 39 points in 32 matches, a 1.22 points per game average. However, back then the league was desperate for attention and invited eight of the twelve teams into the playoffs. That's 67% of the teams qualifying for the playoffs. In contrast, MLS currently invites twelve of the twenty teams to the playoffs, a rate of 60%, which is the highest such rate of all the American professional sports leagues. The "higher standards" to make the playoffs indicate the hurdle should be significantly higher, but the Union only cleared the Red Bulls by .01 points, which locks them in as purely the worst playoff team ever.
Going back to 2004 the New England Revolution made the playoffs with 33 points in 30 matches, but eight of the ten teams made the playoffs completely rendering such analysis meaningless.
If you are looking for an optimistic take on the Union's third playoff match in it's short history it's that anything can happen in a one game playoff. It's true Toronto has been solid the second half of the season but a few good passes and bounces could start to lift the hearts of the Union faithful again.