After a match in which at first the Los Angeles Galaxy appeared to be dominating the Philadelphia Union, striker Danny Mwanga scored a goal in the 83rd minute to keep the Union’s undefeated record at PPL Park alive in a 1-1 draw.
Landon Donovan had put the Galaxy ahead in the 24th minute when he pounced on a loose ball in the box and it deflected past Union captain Faryd Mondragon. The Galaxy controlled a large portion of the possession in the first half and could have had a few more goals if not for some quality saves from Mondragon. The Colombian picked up a groin injury during the game and received attention from team trainers, but stayed in to play the full 90 minutes.
The Union, who were led by assistant coach John Hackworth, made some late offensive substitutions that allowed them to get back into the match. They created many more chances in the second half, and Mwanga was able to finish one of them when he intercepted an ill-advised back pass from the Galaxy’s Sean Franklin, dribbled past Jamaican goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts and slotted it into the net.
Philadelphia continued to create chances as stoppage time neared and were close to scoring a miraculous winner, but Ricketts came up with some big saves of his own to preserve the tie. Much more after the jump.
The Galaxy were without Designated Player David Beckham, who had stayed in Los Angeles. He was rested by coach Bruce Arena due to the busy schedule for the Galaxy this week.
This was the first time that the Union were able to take a point off Los Angeles. The Galaxy had won all three of the previous meetings between the two clubs, including a 1-0 win back in April of this year.
The game was also characterized by a number of strange decisions by referee Andrew Chapin. Several penalty shouts were made by both teams but none were given, including what looked like a push on a Galaxy player by Mondragon. The linesman on the JumboTron side of the stadium also seemed to be off-kilter; he could be seen on numerous occasions to change his mind as he made certain decisions. Mondragon spent large amounts of the second half barking out complaints to him and sarcastically applauding him when he actually called a Galaxy player offsides.
Chapin also dished out six yellow cards in the game. Many of them appeared to be soft decisions, but Chapin did come into the game with an average of four to five yellows per game, so perhaps the way he officiated shouldn't come as a surprise.
The Union return to action this Saturday as they travel to Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, TX to take on FC Dallas. Wednesday’s result left the Union with an impressive 14 points from 8 games, one point off Eastern Conference leaders New York. The Galaxy were left with 17 points from 11 games.
Here are the full match highlights: