The Philadelphia Union grinded out a point against the defending MLS Cup Champion Colorado Rapids at Dick’s Sporting Good Park. Peter Novak decided to start Jack McInerney up top in place of Danny Mwanga. That choice seemed a little strange to me as Mwanga scored 2 goals in the Union’s last match, but McInerney played a solid 59 minutes. This 1-1 draw was entertaining with both teams having periods where they controlled the game.
Colorado looked the more dominate team for much of the 1st half with only a few exceptions. Early in the match Justin Mapp, who was forced to leave the game in the 25th minute with a groin strain, was taken down by the Rapids’s defender Tyrone Marshall. Kyle Nakazawa took the resulting free kick which was brilliantly saved by Colorado’s keeper Matt Pickens. A few minutes later McInerney received a pass from Sebastien LeToux but couldn’t put his shot on target. In the 22nd minute Andre Akpan forced a diving save by Faryd Mondragon. Colorado kept up the pressure for the rest of the half controlling most of the possession. Conor Casey had a golden opportunity put his team ahead in stoppage time of the 1st half but failed to put his header on target.
As with most games this season, the Union came out strong for the second 45. They were creating chances and controlling play. Gabe Farfan placed a beautiful ball into the path of a streaking Keon Daniel, who replaced the injured Mapp, but he sailed his shot over the bar. Jordan Harvey took an ambitious long range shot that was just off target in the 60th minute. Two minutes later the Union conceded their first PK of the season when Danny Califf brought down Pablo Mastroeni in the box. As a Union fan I thought it was a weak call, but I’m sure Rapids supporters thought it was deserved. Conor Casey coolly chipped the PK down the middle beating Mondragon who was diving right. That was Casey’s 2nd goal in two games. The Union responded well. Danny Mwanga, who came on for McInerney, scored the equalizer just 3 minutes after Colorado went ahead. Mwanga received a short pass from LeToux about 25 yards out and blasted a low drive off of Pickens finger tips and into the back of the net. Mwanga now leads the Union with 4 goals for the season. In the dying moments of the game Mwanga had a chance to add to his scoring total and get the win when the ball feel to his feet in the box but his shot was blocked by the Rapids defense. In the last few seconds of stoppage time Colorado had a corner kick which sailed across the box not troubling the Union and the game ended.
With this draw the Union remain on top of the Eastern Conference, 2 points ahead of New York with a game in hand. The Union ended this 2 game road trip with a respectable 4 points. Up next for Philadelphia is Real Salt Lake at PPL Park on Saturday at 4pm. The Union will be looking to extend their home unbeaten streak against a RSL team that has not been playing at the top of their game ever since losing in the CONCACAF Champions League Final.
(image courtesy of Getty Images)