On Wednesday night in front of a new record crowd of 19,178 at PPL Park, the Philadelphia Union secured another point and retained their undefeated home record when they came from behind in a hard fought match to earn a 1-1 draw with the LA Galaxy.
LA opened the scoring the scoring in the 24th minute when Landon Donovan took advantage of a combination of mistake by both his team and the Union. Donovan played a ball into Juan Pablo Angel who tried to shoot but missed the ball as Danny Califf and Sheanon Williams were contesting the shot. All three players lost sight of the ball allowing Donovan to come in and place the ball past Faryd Mondragon and into the back of the net. The Union didn’t record a shot on net in the first half but did create a few chances that were dealt with by LA.
The Union started the 2nd half by bringing on Danny Mwanga for Keon Daniel. Philadelphia looked like a different team. They gained more possession and began creating scoring chances. The Galaxy had 2 good opportunities to extend their lead, but GK Faryd Mondragon made sure that did not happen. Mondragon strained his groin about midway through the 2nd half. He continued to play on despite not being at 100% knowing that his team would need to make some offensive changes in order to get back into the game. Roger Torres was brought in in the 66th minute for his creativity in the midfield. Still down one in the 80th minute, the Union took off LB Jordan Harvey and replaced him with the attacking player Jack McInerny. This all paid off for Philadelphia when Danny Mwanga pounced on a poor backpass in the 84th minute and slotted his shot past Donovan Ricketts for his first goal of the year.
Up next for the Union is FC Dallas at 8:30PM Eastern Time on Saturday. Philadelphia will be trying to improve on their 1-2 road record. FC Dallas lost the services of the 2010 MLS MVP David Ferriera a few matches back but they have not let that affect them as they are 2-0-1 without him. Dallas has only conceded 2 goals in those three matches. The Union will be making a game time decision on GK Faryd Mondragon’s availability due to his groin injury he picked up against LA.
My Union previews are all starting to sound the same as their offense continues to struggle and their defense remains rock solid. The big question is what are they going to do to create more offense? Will the struggling Carlos Ruiz be placed on the bench? Can the diminutive Roger Torres handle playing a full 90 minutes? I think the Union’s fans would be happy to see some changes to the starting XI if they feel as though it would create more scoring opportunities.
FC Dallas is going to provide the Union with a tough test at Pizza Hut Park. If the Union want to stay near the top of the table and be considered one of the top teams in MLS then they have to come away from this match with a positive result.
(image courtesy of Greg Carroccio)