Commerce City, Co. (June 4, 2011) – The Philadelphia Union extended their lead atop the Eastern Conference, playing to a 1-1 draw against the defending champion Colorado Rapids on Saturday at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
Danny Mwanga’s 66th minute strike from distance equalized just three minutes after Conor Casey’s penalty kick, marking the first time in franchise history the Union have earned points from consecutive road matches.
WATCH: Full match highlights
The first shot on goal for either side nearly resulted in an early advantage for the visitors. After Justin Mapp won a free kick from 25 yards out, Kyle Nakazawa found the upper ninety, but Rapids goalkeeper Matt Pickens made a terrific diving save to keep the match scoreless early.
The Union continued to apply pressure in Colorado’s defensive third, creating another chance in the 17th minute. Sebastien Le Toux chipped for Mapp at the top of the area, who sent a header into the path of Jack McInerney. Pickens charged out to contest the chance, applying just enough pressure to force McInerney’s shot wide of the net.
Colorado’s first chance of the match came off a free kick in the 19th minute. Jamie Smith sent a curling ball into the middle of the area, but Andre Akpan’s header fell just wide of the far post.
Colorado threatened again three minutes later, but Union ‘keeper Faryd Mondragon was able to make a diving save off another attempt from Akpan, before Anthony Wallace sent the rebound wide of the far post.
Le Toux had a chance to open the scoring in the 29th minute when he was sent in all alone by McInerney, but Pickens charged out to break up the play.
Colorado had two chances before the break, each involving Casey. In the 40th minute, Casey followed up a corner by playing a short cross into the middle of the area, but Drew Moor’s header was directed over the bar. In first half stoppage time, Casey’s uncontested header missed the near post, sending both sides into the locker room scoreless.
After the break, the Union had a golden opportunity to break the deadlock in the 53rd minute. Substitute Keon Daniel, making a run to the far post, received a precise through ball from Gabriel Farfan, but his close-range attempt missed the mark from only a few yards out.
The scoreless draw was broken open in the 63rd minute. After Danny Califf took down Pablo Mastroeni in the area, Casey stepped to the spot and converted his penalty kick, chipping into the center of the goal as Mondragon guessed to his right.
But the Union struck back quickly. Just three minutes later, Mwanga took a short pass from Le Toux, turned and fired from 25 yards out, beating a diving Pickens to level the match at one goal apiece.
The first place Union, who currently sit on a three-match unbeaten streak, will return home to face Real Salt Lake on June 11. The 4:00 p.m. match will air on 6abc.
COL - Conor Casey 2 (penalty kick) 63'
PHI - Danny Mwanga 4 (Sebastien Le Toux 4) 66'
Philadelphia Union -- Faryd Mondragon, Sheanon Williams, Danny Califf, Carlos Valdes, Jordan Harvey, Kyle Nakazawa, Gabriel Farfan, Brian Carroll, Justin Mapp (Keon Daniel 25) (Stefani Miglioranzi 79), Sebastien Le Toux, Jack McInerney (Danny Mwanga 58).
Substitutes Not Used: Juan Diego Gonzalez, Zach Pfeffer, Roger Torres, Zac MacMath.
TOTAL SHOTS: 7 (Danny Mwanga 2); SHOTS ON GOAL: 2 (Danny Mwanga 1, Kyle Nakazawa 1); FOULS: 17 (Gabriel Farfan 6); OFFSIDES: 1 (Danny Mwanga 1); CORNER KICKS: 3 (Sebastien Le Toux 2); SAVES: 2 (Faryd Mondragon 2)
Colorado Rapids -- Matt Pickens, Kosuke Kimura (Scott Palguta 77), Tyrone Marshall, Drew Moor, Anthony Wallace, Jamie Smith, Pablo Mastroeni, Jeff Larentowicz, Wells Thompson, Andre Akpan (Quincy Amarikwa 46), Conor Casey (Caleb Folan 73).
Substitutes Not Used: Danny Earls, Mike Holody, Ross LaBauex, Steward Ceus.
TOTAL SHOTS: 12 (3 tied with 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 3 (3 tied with 1); FOULS: 12 (Pablo Mastroeni 3); OFFSIDES: 6 (Quincy Amarikwa 3); CORNER KICKS: 4 (Jamie Smith 4); SAVES: 1 (Matt Pickens 1)
COL -- Anthony Wallace (caution; Tactical Foul) 26
Referee: Jasen Anno
Referee's Assistants: Greg Barkey; Mike Kampmeinert
4th Official: Armando Villarreal
Time of Game: 1:50
Weather: Partly Cloudy-and-77-degrees