For Union, Friendlies Part of Learning Process

Philadelphia's youngsters benefit most from Chivas exhibition

Jack McInerney's second half goal helped the Union topple Guadalajara.

Photo Credit: 
Greg Carroccio/Sideline Photos

CHESTER, Pa. — Though the Union were able to hang long enough with Chivas de Guadalajara to beat them, 1-0, Manager Peter Nowak said there was plenty to learn from the 11-time Mexican champions.

“It was good to play a very composed and very experienced team like Chivas de Guadalajara,” Nowak said. “For training purposes the game gave us a little bit more insight going into the next couple of weeks. … It was a great experience for our guys to see [Chivas] first-hand with their style of play.”

The Union may have got the win, but they didn’t control the match the way they may have liked. In fact, goalkeeper Brad Knighton was forced into making a number of key saves to keep the Union in front.

“We didn’t play the best soccer that we could have, especially coming off a really good win against New England where we pretty much dictated the whole game,” Knighton said. “We were on the back foot tonight at times, but it’s always good when your team can find a way to win a game. We did that tonight, and we were able to keep the ball out of the back of the net, which is always a plus.”

One player who had a tough time against the well-organized Chivas defense was 19-year-old forward Danny Mwanga. Deployed as the lone striker in the first half, the rookie had trouble finding space and time on the ball.

“It was pretty hard going against two pretty good defenders,” Mwanga said. “At the same time, it was a friendly game and it was a pretty good experience, and I definitely learned a lot from it. Hopefully I’ll add to my game and keep getting better and better.”

With league play resuming on Saturday against Kanas City, Mwanga expects his team to continue building as their season hits a vital stage.

“We definitely are looking to win,” Mwanga said of the weekend’s Eastern Conference clash. “We did a pretty good job against New England -- and tonight -- and we’re going to look to continue that. If we can keep doing what we’re doing, we think we can get a good result this Saturday against Kansas City.”