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The Union’s 2011 home season in pictures

Featured Image: Nicolae Stoian

The Philly Soccer Page is fortunate to be able to share its readers the work of five staff photographers: Daniel Gajdamowicz, Earl Gardner, Michael Long, Paul Rudderow and Nicolae Stoian. Along with photographs by contributing photographers Nate Monahan and Eryin Wandel, we present a look back at the Union’s 2011 home season along with the road games we were able to cover, special events and more.

When did the 2011 season begin for you?
Photo: Earl Gardner

Did it begin when the No. 1 pick at the SuperDraft greeted his new fans for the first time?
Photo: Nicolae Stoian

Was it underway when an eventual Rookie of the Year candidate was introduced to the press?
Photo: Nicolae Stoian

How about when two players who would go on to transform the team were unveiled for the first time?
Photo: Nicolae Stoian

Was it underway when training camp opened?
Photo: Nicolae Stoian

It was certainly underway when, a season opening road win under the Union’s belts, an overflow crowd gathered at PPL Park to meet the team.
Photo: Nicolae Stoian

In the home opener, Vancouver’s Eric Hassli would eventually get off of Sheanon Williams and Carlos Valdes long enough to be ejected from the game. Union 1–0 Vancouver.
Photo: Paul Rudderow

Bouncing back from a road loss to LA, the Union would top New York 1–0 on a Roger Torres goal to find themselves in first place in the East.
Photo: Daniel Gajdamowicz

Raining buckets, Carlos Ruiz gave the Union the lead against Seattle only for the visitors to equalize in the closing moments of the game.
Photo: Nicolae Stoian

The Union were active outside of games early in the season, too. With the club hosting Sueño 2011, Faryd Mondragon drilled with some young keepers.
Photo: Earl Gardner

After defeating San Jose to move to 13 points from six games, the team celebrated with the River End.
Photo: Paul Rudderow

Down a goal in a tight game with LA, Danny Mwanga saved the day with a dramatic 84th minute equalizer.
Photo: Nicolae Stoian

With the 2–1 win over Chicago, the Union remained unbeaten at home with an overall 5–3–2 record.
Photo: Daniel Gajdamowicz

The Union followed up their 6–2 thumping of Toronto with an exhibition game against affiliate club Reading United AC.
Photo: Eryin Wandel

Despite gaining an early lead and utterly dominating the first half, the Union would have to settle for a 1–1 draw with Real Salt Lake.
Photo: Paul Rudderow

More frustration would follow with a scoreless result against Kansas City.
Photo: Nicolae Stoian

Carlos Ruiz would put the Union on top of Chivas but the visitors would soon equalize. It would take another moment of Mwagic to give the first place Union the winner to finish June with a 7–4–5 record.
Photo: Daniel Gajdamowicz

Behind a goal in DC, a Perry Kitchen own goal would put the Union back in a game that ended in a 2–2 draw.
Photo: Daniel Gajdamowicz

Good fun for a good cause. The First Annual River Cup took place two days before the Union crushed New England 3–0.
Photo: Earl Gardner

An 87th game winning goal over Everton from young Christian Hernandez caused PPL Park to explode.
Photo: Earl Gardner

In between the Everton and Real Madrid friendlies, Kyle Nakazawa hosted a Team Dinner with the players and fans to raise money for Aspergers Syndrome awareness. If you ever have any doubts about what an amazing group of people the players are, just ask anyone who attended the event what they think.
Photo: Michael Long

The Union may have lost to Real Madrid in the friendly at the Linc but a frenetic final 15 minutes that included a coolly taken chipped goal from Michael Farfan turned many a Euro snob into a Union fan.
Photo: Earl Gardner

A few days after facing Real Madrid, Faryd Mondragon was facing Manchester United in the 2011 MLS All-Star Game.
Photo: Daniel Gajdamowicz

A late goal from Roger Torres would not be enough to prevent the first—and only regular season—loss at PPL in 2011. Union 1–Colorado 2.
Photo: Paul Rudderow

PSP was on hand when Paunovic scored that screamer in Chicago.
Photo: Nate Monahan

McInerney is mobbed after scoring the opener against Houston. But a late goal from the visitors meant the game would end as a draw.
Photo: Nicoale Stoian

Le Toux made no mistake with two penalty kicks to secure a 2–2 draw with Dallas. The emerging winless trend of losses and too many draws would see the Union out of first place at the end of August with an 8–6–10 record.
Photo: Daniel Gajdamowicz

August also saw the First Annual Supporters Summit at PPL Park.
Photo: Earl Gardner

Le Toux’s stoppage time goal against New England ensured a thrilling comeback would not end in disappointment in the 4–4 draw.
Photo: Paul Rudderow

A listless draw with Portland put the Union’s winless streak at eight games.
Photo: Earl Gardner

Le Toux’s goal against Columbus, his sixth in six games, broke the curse with a 1–0 win.
Photo: Paul Rudderow

Le Toux would tally two more in the 3-2 win over DC but Michael Farfan would net the game winner in the last game in September to put the Union at 10–7–13.
Photo: Daniel Gajdamowicz

Le Toux’s goal just before the half against Toronto looked to give the Union the chance to move into first place in the East with a win in the final home game of the season, but it was not to be. Still, the Union were playoff-bound.
Photo: Nicolae Stoian

After a terrible performance in the 1–0 loss in New York in the final game of the regular season, the players took time after the game to thank the members of the Union family who were truly deserving of applause that night, the more than 1200 Union supporters who made the trip north to see the game. The final regular season record was 11–8–15 and third place in the Eastern Conference, a tremendous accomplishment for the second year team.
Photo: Nicolae Stoian

The Union players are active representing the team on and off the pitch. The weekend after the New York game, Roger Torres visited the Camden Youth Soccer Club.
Photo: Earl Gardner

In the first leg of the Eastern Conference semifinal on Oct. 30, Houston opened the scoring after just five minutes of play.
Photo: Earl Gardner

Le Toux would level two minutes later.
Photo: Nicolae Stoian

But the Dynamo would go on top with a 30th minute goal for the victory and go on to win the second leg in Houston.
Photo: Earl Gardner

The ending was painful, but it was a fine year, one that promises great things for the future. So shed no tears, Union supporters—the Union shall rise again.
Photo: Earl Gardner

So, when will the 2012 season begin for you?

5 Comments

  1. Some fantastic and heartbreaking memories in there – and i didn’t get to go to some of it. p.s. Season started for me the day the Expansion Protected lists were announced – same this year lol.

  2. No words for how great that was. Just… wow.

  3. Great pictures; nicely summarized. Great reflection of a super season with many great memories!

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