Saturday, May 15, 2010

Mwanga scores in final Minute as Union salvages tie with FC Dallas

By John McMullen

Philadelphia, PA (The Phanatic Magazine) - Danny Mwanga's dramatic goal in the 93rd minute lifted the Philadelphia Union to a 1-1 tie with FC Dallas in front of 25,038 at Lincoln Financial Field on Saturday.

Mwanga, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 MLS SuperDraft, entered the game in the 81st minute as a substitution for Cristian Arrieta and scored his first career goal in the final minute of stoppage time as the Union (1-5-1) snapped a four-game skid in exciting fashion.

"It's a great feeling," Mwanga said after the match. "Coming out of college, I was trying to make some adjustments. Having my first goal in that big of a game in front of a home crowd was definitely a good thing."

Trying to be competitive as an expansion team is tough enough without a real home. The Union's new soccer-specific stadium in Chester, PPL Park, is still over a month away from being unveiled. Knowing the building wouldn't be ready for the start of their first MLS season, the Union scheduled eight of the first 10 games in franchise history on the road with two in the team's home away from home, the Linc.

A rough start was almost guaranteed with that schedule and sure enough, the Union's one win in its first six contests came at the Linc when Peter Nowak's club earned a hard-fought 3-2 win over D.C. United back on April 10.

The sequel wasn't quite as successful on Saturday but it's clear Philadelphia has been a different team in front of the hometown crowd.

Since their first home game, the Union had suffered losses at Toronto, New York, Los Angeles and Real Salt Lake, the last two without leading scorer Sebastien Le Toux, who has been sidelined with a sprained left knee.

The dynamic French forward, who has scored four of the Union's six goals coming in, returned to the lineup on Saturday and had plenty of chances but FC Dallas (2-1-5) goalkeeper Kevin Hartman answered every one of them.

Philadelphia pressed the action throughout and had two solid scoring attempts in the opening minutes. Hartman made a tremendous save to prevent a Alejandro Moreno header from finding the back of the net off a Kyle Nakazawa free kick in the fourth minute.

Le Toux then actually deposited a goal in the seventh minute but it was waved off due to an offside violation.

The failures would haunt the Union soon enough as FC Dallas' forward Brek Shea blasted a laser over the left shoulder of Chris Seitz to give his club a 1-0 edge in the 13th minute.

Hartman took over from there stymieing the Union at every turn. The FC Dallas netminder seemed to anticipate every Philadelphia scoring chance and was one step ahead of the Union, facing 16 shots and making six saves, many of them acrobatic.

His counterpart, Seitz, faced just six shots, yet Philadelphia found itself behind until Mwanga's late game heroics gave the team its fourth point of the season.


*The Union now take to the road again for three straight games -- at Houston, Chicago and Kansas City -- before returning home for the opening of PPL Park on June 26.

Scoring Summary: 

DAL – Break Shea (Atiba Harris, Jeff Cunningham) 13

PHI – Danny Mwanga (Unassisted) 93+

Philadelphia Union (1-5-1) -- Chris Seitz; Cristian Arrieta (Danny Mwanga 81), Danny Califf, Michael Orozco, Jordan Harvey; Kyle Nakazawa (Shea Salinas 67), Stefani Miglioranzi, Fred, Roger Torres (Jack McInerney 75); Alejandro Moreno, Sebastien Le Toux

Substitutions not used: Andrew Jacobson, Shavar Thomas, Amobi Okugo, Brad Knighton

Shots: 11 (Dax McCarty 3); SOG: 6 (Marvin Chavez 2, Dax McCarty 2); Fouls: 13 (4 tied with 2); Corner kicks: 1 (Dax McCarty): Offsides: 7 (Atiba Harris 3); Saves: 6 (Kevin Hartman 6)

FC Dallas (2-1-5) – Kevin Hartman; Heath Pearce, Ugo Ihemelu, George John, Zach Loyd; Daniel Hernandez, Brek Shea (Eric Avila 79), Dax McCarty, Atiba Harris; David Ferreira, Jeff Cunningham (Marvin Chavez 63) (Anthony Wallace 92+)

Substitutions not used: Bruno Guarda, Edson Edward, Jason Yeisley, Dario Sala

Shots: 21 (3 tied with 4); SOG: 16 (Sebastien Le Toux 4, Roger Torres 4); Fouls: 12 (Michael Orozco 3, Cristian Arrieta 3); Offsides: 2 (Alejandro Moreno 1, Sebastien Le Toux 1); Corner kicks: 10 (Roger Torres 4); Saves: 3 (Chris Seitz 3)


PHI – Roger Torres (caution; Reckless Foul) 62
DAL – Heath Pearce (caution; Unsporting Behavior) 83

Referee: Ricardo Salazar
Referee's Assistants: Thomas Supple, James Conlee
4th Official: Tony Russo
Attendance: 25,038
Time of Game: 1:50
Weather: Clear, 70 degrees

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