CHESTER, Pa. – LA Galaxy forward Landon Donovan’s scoring streak continued, and perhaps one is just beginning for Philadelphia's Danny Mwanga, as each tallied in a 1-1 tie on Wednesday night in front of a PPL Park-record crowd of 19,178.
Mwanga’s dramatic goal late in the second half equalized things for the Union after Donovan scored in the first half to stake an early lead for the Galaxy.
Mwanga – who scored seven goals during his rookie campaign last year but had yet to score this season – broke his drought when he picked off a back pass from Galaxy defender Sean Franklin, dribbled around goalie Donavan Ricketts and deposited the ball into the back of the net in the 83rd minute.
The forward came in as a halftime substitute and played an inspired second half to help the Union come alive offensively. Fellow second-year players Jack McInerney and Roger Torres also came on as offensive substitutes as Philly pushed hard in the final 10 minutes to get their first-ever point against the Galaxy in four meetings.
The scoring began in the 24th minute when Donovan, after receiving a pass from Franklin, back-heeled it to a streaking Juan Pablo Angel. The striker dribbled into the box and seemed to trip over the ball, but Donovan followed the play and pounced on the loose ball, drilling it past Union ’keeper Faryd Mondragón.
After being sidelined for three games with a knee injury last month, Donovan has now scored the Galaxy’s last five goals, all in the past four games.
With his goal against the Union, Donovan also matched Real Salt Lake's Jason Kreis as the fourth-leading goal scorer in MLS history with 108 career tallies. He’s still behind Jamie Moreno (133), Jeff Cunningham (132) and Ante Razov (114).
The Galaxy played without David Beckham, who remained in Los Angeles to rest because of the club’s grueling stretch of three games in one week. The Englishman has been linking up with Donovan well in recent weeks and is among the league’s leaders with five assists.
The Union were also without a familiar face as team manager Peter Nowak was in Poland playing in a soccer charity event. In his place, Union assistant coach John Hackworth took the reins.
Aside from the goal, Mondragón was strong in the net. His biggest save of the game came in the 63rd minute, when he stoned the Galaxy’s Chris Birchall from point-blank range. A few minutes later, the Union goalie blocked another close shot from Ángel, and then helped secure the tie with a leaping punch-out in the 86th minute.
The Union had some chances off well-delivered free kicks from set piece specialist Kyle Nakazawa, namely in the 39th minute when Ricketts came off his line to punch the ball away and then Philly striker Sebastien Le Toux couldn’t get a good shot on a rebound attempt. However, until Philly’s final flurry, Ricketts didn’t have much work to do, as the Union did not attempt a shot on goal until the 73rd minute.
Both teams have quick turnarounds, with the Union (4-2-2) heading to Dallas for a Saturday night game at Pizza Hut Park and the Galaxy (4-2-5) returning home to host Sporting KC the same night.
LA -- Landon Donovan 5 (unassisted) 24
PHI -- Danny Mwanga 1 (unassisted) 83
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) 83
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 (Hector Jimenez 89), Juan Pablo Angel (Chad Barrett 89), Miguel Lopez (Jovan Kirovski 82).
Substitutes Not Used: Gregg Berhalter, Paolo Cardozo, Frankie Hejduk, Josh Saunders.
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.
Referee: Andrew Chapin
Referee's Assistants: Greg Barkey; Matthew Kreitzer
4th Official: Jorge Gonzalez
Weather: Sunny and 73 degrees