A draw away from home is always a respectable result, but it is unlikely that the Los Angeles Galaxy will be happy with their 1-1 draw with the Philadelphia Union on Wednesday night. Despite playing without David Beckham and the Union being undefeated at home, the Galaxy went to PPL Park and looked on their way to a win. Landon Donovan's first half goal had them ahead and they have been very good at protecting one-goal leads under Bruce Arena. They remained compact and responsible, then in the 84th minute Sean Franklin gave the ball away on an attempted back pass and Danny Mwanga pounced for a late equalizer that ruined LA's dreams of three points.
The Galaxy started brightly and pressured the Union from the start. That pressure finally turned into a goal in the 24th minute as Donovan scored his fifth consecutive goal for LA. Juninho started the move from the center circle with a ball that opened up Franklin on the right. Franklin played the ball to the center, 30 yards from goal, where Donovan dummied to leave the ball for a streaking Juan Pablo Angel. Angel took the ball into the box, where he left it for Donovan to finish, albeit it slowly and awkwardly.
The rest of the half played out with LA getting a couple half-chances and Philadelphia teasing a PPL Park record crowd of 19,178 with tantalizing crosses that Donovan Ricketts was able to punch away.
Twice Los Anheles looked as if they would put the match away just after an hour. Philadelphia has not scored more than one goal in a match all season so a second Galaxy goal would have likely sunk the Union and twice they were close. First, Chris Birchall was played in an all alone on Faryd Mondragon and he unleashed a good shot low at the far post, but Mondragon stretched to get a hand to it. Not long after Mondragon came bustling off his line to make a great save from close range on Angel.
Los Angeles got to the 84th minute without having been threatened too many times, but they finally were and it was their own doing. Mwanga did well to pressure Franklin, but the LA defender still had time and the ball calmly at his feet. He tried to play a back pass to Ricketts, but it was soft and really just a perfectly weighted through ball for Mwanga. Mwanga took it, rounded Ricketts and finished easily for the equalizer gifted to him by Franklin.
Both teams had chances late to get winners. Jack McInerney got a chance from the top of the box and tried to sidefoot it past Ricketts, but the Jamaican international was able to get down and make the save. Omar Gonzalez got up to a header on a LA corner kick, but the 6'4'' defender put the ball over the bar and the Galaxy were forced to settle for a draw in a match they surely must have felt they deserved three points from.