On a bit sticky but pleasant night in Chester, PA., the Philadelphia Union (X -15-8-6, 51 Pts, 2nd Place Eastern Conference) hosted LAFC (Y – 19-4-6, 63 Pts, 1st Place Western Conference). A boisterous crowd of 19,145, the 7th sellout of the season and the 3rd largest crowd in Talen Energy Stadium history, saw the West’s best and the East’s 2nd best battle to a 1-1 draw.
LAFC Starting XI: 4,3,3
GK Tyler Miller; Ds Eddie Segura, Walker Zimmerman, Jordan Harvey, Steven Beitashour; MFs Eduard Atuesta, Latif Blessing, Mark-Anthony Kaye; Fs, Diego Rossi, Adama Diomande, Carlos Vela(C)
Union Starting XI: 4,2,3,1
GK Andre Blake; Ds Mark McKenzie, Jack Elliott, Kai Wagner, Raymon Gaddis; MFs Haris Medunjanin, Alejandro Bedoya (C), Brenden Aaronson, Jamiro Monteiro, Fs Fafa Picault, Kacper Przybylko
1st half: Scoring early and late
The Union scored early and LAFC scored late for an even first half, on the scoreboard at least.
The U’s goal came on some nifty passing, ending with FaFa’s cross to Pryzbylko (14) for a jumping header that completely fooled LA GK Miller. Bedoya would also get an assist.
The match was then back and forth with both teams having some sustained time in the other end.
Late in the half though it was LAFC that finally got a goal. This came as Vela (28) cleaned up the garbage in the box on a rebound of a shot that went of the crossbar and nobody could clear in the 43′
On the Stat sheet LAFC outplayed the U, 8 shots to 2, each with 2 on goal, 55.4 – 44.6 TOP to LA. Where it counts though we are knotted at 1.
2nd half: A lot of action but no goals
There was plenty happening in the second half including four yellow cards to LAFC, but nobody could further dent the score sheet. The Union would even up the TOP and get some good looks, but either could not connect on final passes or get the ball past Miller when they could. Blake made two good saves,and Miller one. It often seemed like they respected the LAFC counter too much and did not have enough players on the attack.
In the end a draw would help both teams inch towards their respective goals coming in, but not as much as either would like.
Brian Rodriguez for Vela 66′
Adrien Perez for Diomande 74′
Tristan Blackmon for Beitashour 82′
Ilsinho for Aaronson 58′
Sergio Santos for Pryzblko 75′
Considering they were playing by far the best team in MLS, a draw is not a terrible result. The one point will only minimally help them get back to the top of the table, but it may be important in the final seeding. As shown below, it does keep Atlanta United FC from catching them with a W on Wednesday. They certainly need to do more next week.
Here are the standings as of this posting:
The Union (X- 15-8-7, 52 Pts) hit the road to face New York Red Bulls (29-12-12, 41 Pts, 6th Place) on Sunday 9/22/19 @ 6:30 PM. The Pink Cows are fighting to stay above the red line, so they may have a bit more to play for than the U. They will be on just 4 days rest though, coming off a trip to Portland Timbers on Wednesday.