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Union beat Chivas on a late goal by Mwanga

The Union played a less-than-inspiring first half of a 3-2 win Saturday night, and the home crowd at PPL Park let them know about it.

Union's Carlos Ruiz scores past Chivas defender Andrew Boyens in the second half of Saturday's 3-2 win. (Laurence Kesterson / Staff Photographer)
Union's Carlos Ruiz scores past Chivas defender Andrew Boyens in the second half of Saturday's 3-2 win. (Laurence Kesterson / Staff Photographer)Read more

The Union played a less-than-inspiring first half of a 3-2 win Saturday night, and the home crowd at PPL Park let them know about it.

As they walked off during intermission, trailing Chivas USA, 1-0, in the Major League Soccer game, the Union were greeted with a familiar Philadelphia chorus: Booo!

Apparently the crowd, after witnessing Wednesday's scoreless draw with visiting Sporting Kansas City, had seen enough.

Evidently, so had the Union, who were a much different team in the final 45 minutes.

Danny Mwanga's goal in the 82d minute broke the tie and gave the Union a 3-2 win over Chivas USA in front of a crowd of 18,139. The Union are 7-4-5, including 5-0-4 at home. Chivas dropped to 4-7-5.

"It looks like we found a group of players who know at some point you have to dig deep, and that is what I told them in the locker room," Union team manager Peter Nowak said. "There weren't too many words to say."

Mwanga didn't play Wednesday because of a sore knee and wasn't inserted into Saturday's game until the beginning of the second half.

Why he wasn't penciled in for 90 minutes a game is a frequently asked question.

"The last thing we want is where Danny plays every single game, every minute, because he is going to [get injured]," said Nowak, who added that Mwanga goes all-out every play and has to learn to pace himself.

Mwanga received a long pass from Sebastien Le Toux, took two dribbles, and blasted a 25-yarder into the far post for his fifth goal of the season. The fact that he took his time to survey the situation was the key.

"You want to give yourself a better chance to have a nice shot instead of rushing it," Mwanga said. "I looked at the goalie and took my time before shooting."

The Union tied the score, 1-1 in the 48th minute when Veljko Paunovic, playing only his third game, converted a Justin Mapp cross. Paunovic chest-trapped the ball and then fired it in from 12 yards out.

A few minutes later, Union forward Carlos Ruiz saw a shot from just outside the box deflect off defender Heath Pearce and hit the post.

Chivas had a great scoring chance when forward Marcos Mondaini hit the crossbar on a free kick from just outside the box in the 65th minute.

In the 68th minute Paunovic came close to scoring his second goal. His shot aimed at an open goal was blocked by defender Andrew Boyens.

The Union then took the lead when Paunovic sent a long chip that Ruiz chest-trapped. Ruiz brought the ball down to his feet and continued to shield the ball until firing in an eight-yarder for his fourth goal of the season in the 69th minute.

Chivas tied the score, 2-2, when Justin Braun, the 6-foot-3, 195-pound bull of a forward, ran down a long chip and beat Union goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon to the ball, chipping it in over the veteran keeper from just outside the box in the 77th minute.