2010 Season Recap

The 2010 season welcomed a new expansion side for the second straight year in the Philadelphia Union. They emulated Seattle Sounders FC before them, as the crowds in the City of Brotherly Love did not fail to disappoint in the club’s maiden campaign. Newly-constructed PPL Park continued to prove a challenging venue for opponents as Sebastien Le Toux impressed on the field with 14 goals and 11 assists.

The French striker was joined in MLS by fellow countryman Thierry Henry in a blockbuster deal that saw the World Cup-winner join the New York Red Bulls as a Designated Player, along with Mexico captain Rafa Marquez. D.C. United’s historically bad season was given a silver lining in the breakout play of eventual Rookie of the Year Andy Najar, while FC Dallas compiled a record-breaking 19-game unbeaten streak under Coach of the Year Schellas Hyndman.

But the really impressive performances came out of the 2009 finalists, Real Salt Lake and the LA Galaxy. The reigning champions certainly proved their status as top dogs: RSL did not suffer a defeat at home all season, scored the most goals in the league and set an MLS record for fewest goals allowed in a season. But the Claret-and-Cobalt were matched nearly blow for blow by the Galaxy, who scored the second most goals and allowed the second fewest.

It would ultimately be LA’s white-hot 10-0-2 start that propelled the club to the Supporters’ Shield. The Galaxy cooled off after the World Cup – in which star midfielder Landon Donovan scored a dramatic winner against Algeria to send the USA through to the knockout stages – but LA were just able to hold off RSL by three points to take the regular season title.

The defending champions would have their own regular season triumph, coming back from two goals down in the last five minutes against the rival Colorado Rapids to steal the Rocky Mountain Cup in dramatic fashion. The Red Bulls closed out their season in similarly dramatic fashion, snatching top spot in the Eastern Conference away from the Columbus Crew in their final game.

The real fireworks, however, would happen in the postseason. The San Jose Earthquakes, making their first playoff appearance since their rebirth in 2008, stunned New York with a 3-1 victory at Red Bull Arena, a goal from 18-goal man and Golden Boot-winner Chris Wondolowski sealing the star-studded Red Bulls’ fate. The Rapids advanced past the first round thanks to a penalty shootout victory over the Crew. FC Dallas upset both RSL and LA en route to their first-ever MLS Cup Final, but the Rapids would pull the upset that counted most. For the second year running the last team to earn a playoff berth would win MLS Cup, as Colorado won its first in team history as a Macoumba Kandji shot was knocked in by a defender for an overtime own-goal winner.

2010 MLS standings


Most Valuable Player: David Ferreira – FC Dallas
Goalkeeper of the Year: Donovan Ricketts – LA Galaxy
Golden Boot: Chris Wondolowski – San Jose Earthquakes, 18 goals
Rookie of the Year: Andy Najar – D.C. United
Defender of the Year: Jamison Olave – Real Salt Lake
Goal of the Year: Marco Pappa – Chicago Fire vs. San Jose Earthquakes – April 10, 2010
Coach of the Year: Schellas Hyndman – FC Dallas

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