The Philadelphia Union celebrate a goal versus Chivas USA. (Photo courtesy of @BarbcvPhilly)
In a back-and-forth encounter on Saturday night at PPL Park, a moment of brilliance from Danny Mwanga was the difference as the Philadelphia Union beat Chivas USA 3-2. The result preserved the Union's undefeated record at home and snapped a winless streak of five games.
Peter Nowak stuck to his guns with the strange formation that was used in the team's 0-0 draw with Sporting Kansas City as Jack McInerney and Veljko Paunovic were once again part of the starting lineup. But unlike last week, the team did not start the game well and were down early when Michael Umaña headed home a goal in the 28th minute for the Goats. The first half ended with the score 1-0.
Nowak was clearly not pleased with his team's first half performance, as he made two changes at the start of the second half. He replaced defender Jordan Harvey with midfielder Keon Daniel and swapped Jack McInerney for the team's leading scorer, Danny Mwanga. The team played with a renewed sense of motivation and quickly equalized when Panouvic scored his first goal in a Union uniform in the 48th minute.
After Marcos Mondaini rattled the crossbar for Chivas in the 65th minute, Carlos Ruiz gave the Union the lead four minutes later when he impressively held off a defender and slotted the ball past goalkeeper Dan Kennedy. Chivas still had more up their sleeves, though. More after the jump..
The Union's lead would not last for long as in the 77th minute Justin Braun nodded the game up at two goals apiece. That was when Mwanga, the team's leading scorer who had missed the previous game with a mysterious injury, took matters into his own hands. He wonderfully controlled the ball on the edge of the penalty area and took an audacious attempt on goal that beat Kennedy for the Union's third goal in the 82nd minute.
That would prove to be enough for Philadelphia, who regained sole possession of first place in the Eastern Conference with 26 points from 16 games. They now embark on a three-game road trip, with their next home game coming on July 20 in a friendly match with Everton FC. Their next home league match is not for more than a month; they play the Colorado Rapids at PPL Park on July 29th.
Here are the highlights from the 3-2 win over Chivas USA: