For much of June and July the Union was Major League Soccer’s hottest team during the 2011 campaign. In 11 matches, the Union went 2-4-5 in all competitions and 2-2-5 in MLS play.
But the most interesting aspect was that the Union went on a run of five matches unbeaten during the month of July following a 3-2 win over Chivas USA at PPL Park. Poignant given Friday will be Chivas’ first return to Chester since that match (7:30 p.m., purchase tickets).
In the 2011 edition, it was a late game winner from former forward Danny Mwanga that sent PPL Park into frenzy as he finished off a ball sent to his feet from Sebastien Le Toux.
The win put the Union in sole possession of first place in MLS’ Eastern Conference and extended the club’s unbeaten streak at home to 10 matches.
It didn’t end there however.
The club put forth a strong showing on the road in its next three matches after, as it drew Eastern Conference rival D.C. United, 2-2, battled San Jose to a scoreless draw and exhibited a dominant performance against the New England Revolution, earning a 3-0 win in a wild one – for a myriad reasons – at Gillette Stadium.
Then in a return to PPL Park for a friendly against Everton of the Barclays Premier League, a trio of Union homegrown studs starred in a 1-0 win over one of England’s finest.
Zach Pfeffer, Jimmy McLaughlin and Cristhian Hernandez played great soccer with Hernandez scoring what he later called “the goal of his life,” in the 87th minute, slotting a well-placed shot past Everton goalkeeper Jan Mucha.
This season, despite injuries and players out on international duty the Union have battled to a fourth place spot in the East (7-6-6, 27 points) and are looking for a spark after a two recent road matches that offered only one point. The Union recently had a five game unbeaten streak snapped in a loss to Houston and are looking for a spark to get back to winning ways.
In 2011, Chivas USA was that spark.
Will lightning strike twice?
Contact Union writer Kerith Gabriel at email@example.com