Chester Pa. (May 11, 2011) – Danny Mwanga conjured up some late heroics for the Philadelphia Union (4-2-2) at PPL Park on Wednesday night, intercepting a backpass to equalize against the LA Galaxy (4-2-5) in the 84th minute. Landon Donovan’s first half goal looked to be enough until Mwanga electrified a record crowd of 19,178, moving the Union to within a point of first place in the Eastern Conference.
Donovan opened the scoring for the visitors in the 24th minute. Sean Franklin found Donovan at the top of the area, and the U.S. international back-heeled to a streaking Juan Pablo Angel, who was unable to get a shot off with Sheanon Williams and Danny Califf converging on the ball. The botched attempt was LA’s gain, though, as the ball sat motionless for Donovan, who finished uncontested from 14 yards out for a 1-0 lead.
Philadelphia’s best chance of the first half came in the 39th minute. Donovan Ricketts came off his line to punch away Kyle Nakazawa’s free kick from the left touchline, but the clearance found Sebastien Le Toux in the area. With Ricketts still out of position, Le Toux sent service back into the area, but it was cleared by the Galaxy.
The Galaxy nearly found a second goal on two occasions mid-way through the second half, but goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon asserted himself for the home side. In the 63rd minute, a well-worked give-and-go between Chris Birchall and Miguel Lopez yielded a breakaway for Birchall, but Mondragon was up to the task, diving to his right to parry the attempt away. Four minutes later, Angel found himself all alone in the area, but Mondragon was able to save a close-range attempt from the Colombian striker.
Just when the Union appeared on their way to the first home loss of 2011, second half substitute Mwanga came to the rescue. Capitalizing on a botched backpass by Sean Franklin, Mwanga ran onto it, evaded a charging Ricketts and slotted home for the late tally.
With a six-match home unbeaten streak in hand, the Union will head on the road to face FC Dallas on Saturday night, 8:30pm. The match will be broadcast on The Comcast Network.
LA - Landon Donovan 5 (Unassisted) 24'
PHI - Danny Mwanga 1 (Unassisted) 84'
LA -- Chris Birchall (caution; Reckless Foul) 30
PHI -- Brian Carroll (caution; Shirt Removal) 58
PHI -- Roger Torres (caution; Reckless Tackle) 76
LA -- Omar Gonzalez (caution; Delaying a Restart) 78
PHI -- Danny Mwanga (caution; Shirt Removal) 84
LA -- A.J. DeLaGarza (caution; Reckless Foul) 87
PHI -- Sheanon Williams (caution; Reckless Foul) 92+
LA Galaxy -- Donovan Ricketts, Sean Franklin, Omar Gonzalez, A.J. DeLaGarza, Todd Dunivant, Chris Birchall, Landon Donovan, Juninho, Michael Stephens (Mike Magee 87), Juan Pablo Angel (Chad Barrett 90), Miguel Lopez (Jovan Kirovski 82).
Substitutes Not Used: Gregg Berhalter, Paolo Cardozo, Frankie Hejduk, Josh Saunders.
TOTAL SHOTS: 10; SHOTS ON GOAL: 4; FOULS: 11; OFFSIDES: 2; CORNER KICKS: 6; SAVES: 3
Philadelphia Union -- Faryd Mondragon, Sheanon Williams, Danny Califf, Carlos Valdes, Jordan Harvey (Jack McInerney 80), Brian Carroll, Kyle Nakazawa (Roger Torres 66), Keon Daniel (Danny Mwanga 46), Justin Mapp, Sebastien Le Toux, Carlos Ruiz.
Substitutes Not Used: Gabriel Farfan, Michael Farfan, Amobi Okugo, Zac MacMath.
TOTAL SHOTS: 10; SHOTS ON GOAL: 4; FOULS: 14; OFFSIDES: 4; CORNER KICKS: 3; SAVES: 3
Referee: Andrew Chapin
Referee's Assistants: Greg Barkey; Matthew Kreitzer
4th Official: Jorge Gonzalez
Weather: Sunny and 73 degrees