Independent Philly was on hand (or perhaps “on foot” is more appropriate) Saturday afternoon as the Philadelphia Union took on FC Dallas in their second home game of the season at Lincoln Financial Field.
The weather was just about perfect for the 4 PM start time and the over 25,000 fans in attendance were pumped up as they chanted “Phila-delphia Uuuuuuuunion!” and sang numerous fight songs.
The Union won their one previous home game of the season 3-2 over DC United but have a 0-5 record away from home.
They have been playing an away game heavy schedule as they wait for their brand new stadium (PPL Park) to open in Chester, PA in 42 days.
The game started and The Union almost scored first (in the fifth minute) but an incredible save by Dallas goal-keeper Kevin Hartman kept the game scoreless. Moments later a goal by the Union’s Sebastien Le Toux was waived off on an off-sides call. Then, in the thirteenth minute of play, Dallas scored to take a 1-0 lead on a goal by Break Shea.
The Philadelphia fans began to chant “Where is Waldo?” at Dallas’s players (a knock on their red and white striped jerseys).
Both Philadelphia and Dallas had numerous other scoring chances in the first half of play but big time saves by both FCD’s Hartman and Union goal-keeper Chris Seitz kept the game locked at 1-0 Dallas heading into half time.
The second half of play was action packed as well but despite out-shooting Dallas 21-11 it appeared as though the Union were going to be on the losing end of the match.
Then, in the final minute of stoppage time (93rd minute) #1 over-all draft pick Danny Mwanga scored his first MLS goal and tied the game in dramatic fashion as fans broke out into song. “We are the Union, the mighty, mighty Union…”
The rivalry between the cities of Philadelphia and Dallas in sports is well documented and Mwanga’s goal to keep the Union unbeaten at home couldn’t have come at a more important time.
“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. I’m hoping that they’re very happy that we didn’t lose that game and we’re undefeated at home.” Mwanga told reporters after the game.
Soccer in Philadelphia is a beautiful thing. With several home games set to take place in Chester later this summer (as well as a “friendly” against Manchester United at Lincoln Financial Field on July 21st) there are numerous chances for Philadelphia area residents to get out to support our team in its first season.