CHESTER, Pa. — The Philadelphia Union have a healthy stable of young, talented offensive talents, but it’s probably fair to say no two players have Union fans as excited as Freddy Adu and Danny Mwanga.
On Wednesday, fans got a glimpse of the electric potential of the Adu-Mwanga combination.
With the Union trailing by three goals to New England early in the second half of a pivotal Eastern Conference game at PPL Park, Mwanga dribbled at a defender and played a perfect pass to Adu, who took a good touch and buried it past Revs ’keeper Matt Reis for his first MLS goal since 2007.
That kickstarted a three-goal comeback for Philly in the second half, who picked up a point with their thrilling 4-4 draw.
“[Mwanga] saw me taking off and he held the ball just the right amount of time for me to make that run and get in behind,” Adu told MLSsoccer.com. “Some forwards would play that ball too quick and defenders would have time to get it, but he delayed it just in time.”
Added Mwanga, “Freddy made a good run and the defender had to commit to stay in front of me. I played it to Freddy and he did really well with it. It was a tough angle but he did a very good job to put it far post.”
The 22-year-old Adu and 20-year-old Mwanga didn’t play together in Adu’s first two games after the ex-wunderkind signed with Philly in mid-August, and then didn’t do much as a twosome when they got on the field at the same time this past Saturday in Salt Lake City.
But both former No. 1 overall draft picks are confident they’ll start to mesh well as the season progresses. Already, Adu is gushing about Mwanga’s maturity for a youngster.
“Danny’s a great player,” said Adu, who played his first 90-minute game Wednesday since signing with the Union. “He can hold the ball, he’s very strong and he understands the game. ... I’m starting to understand guys’ IQ levels for the game and his is pretty high.”
Mwanga, who has five goals and four assists this season, had similar praise for Adu.
“He’s very good on the ball and has really great vision,” Mwanga said. “Every time he gets the ball underneath, he’s always looking to find you behind the defense. At this point, I think we’re doing quite well together. Hopefully we’ll keep playing like this.”
Dave Zeitlin covers the Union for MLSsoccer.com. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @DaveZeitlin.