It has been a remarkable year for soccer in Philadelphia. The Union and the Independence played their inaugural seasons, and helped to build a fan base in our region that is among the most passionate in the nation. International clubs including Manchester United, Celtic and Chivas de Guadalajara came to town for exhibition matches.
On top of all that, our region played host to three major United States national teams games. The men visited twice, including the showcase World Cup send-off match, and held their World Cup training camp relatively close by at Princeton University. The women visited once, for their final match before World Cup qualifying.
As 2010 draws to a close, here's a look back at 10 of the top goals from the soccer year in Philadelphia. For as much as the Union struggled this year, this was actually pretty hard to put together. There are quite a few terrific goals that I left off the list. It won't be long before we start getting ready for the 2011 season.
After all, the NSCAA convention in Baltimore is only a few weeks away. That includes the MLS SuperDraft on January 13 and the WPS Draft on January 14. I'm sure a lot of you will be traveling to Baltimore for the festivities. Although the draft's importance as a tool for player development has diminished in recent years, it is still the league's biggest offseason event - and it's also a lot of fun.
Whether your feast of choice today is a fancy roast or Chinese takeout, I hope you have a happy and peaceful holiday. Thanks once again to all of you for an incredible first season here on the blog. Here's to another great year in 2011.
1. Sebastien Le Toux's second goal against D.C. United in the first ever home game on April 10:
5. Shea Salinas' golazo at Houston, also on May 29:
8. Independence star Amy Rodriguez's game-winning goal in the 120th minute of the first-round playoff game against Washington on September 19. Jump to the 4:30 mark, unless you want to see all the chances Rodriguez failed to finish in the first 119 minutes:
9. Sebastien Le Toux's trap and finish of a beautiful cross from Roger Torres against Houston on October 2:
10. Alex Morgan's first-touch volley that gave the U.S. women's national team a 1-1 draw with China on October 6. It was the last goal of the year at PPL Park, and Morgan's first career tally for the U.S. women's national team:
Since you've made it this far, here's a bonus goal as an extra present. It wasn't scored in Philadelphia, or by a Philadelphia team, but I think we all know it was the biggest goal of the year anyway: