It was a battle of two teams right on the playoff line, as the LA Galaxy (8-7-4, 28 Pts, 6th Place Western Conference) and their superstar F Zlatan Ibrahimovic, came to Talen Energy Stadium to face the Philadelphia Union (7-9-3, 24 Pts, 7th Place, Eastern Conference).
Unfortunately a soaked crowd of 19,013, saw Philadelphia score first, but then let LA take over the rest of the match for a 3-1 loss.
LA Galaxy Starting XI:3-4-2-1
GK: David Bingham, D’s Tomas Hilliard-Arce, Michael Ciani, Jorgen Skjelvik, Dave Romney; MFs Servando Carrasco, Jonathan dos Santos; Fs Chris Pontius, Giovani dos Santos, Ola Kamara, Zlatan Ibrahimovic (C)
Union Starting XI: 4-2-3-1
GK Andre Blake; Ds Raymon Gaddis, Auston Trusty, Mark McKenzie, Fabinho; MFs Alejandro Bedoya(C), Haris Medunjanin, Marcus Epps, Fafa Picault, Borek Dockal; F CJ Sapong
It was a typical first half as the Union pressed early and often, only to find shots go astray or right at LA GK Bingham. The teams would trade runs with the Union having more sustained possession.
That would finally come to fruition as on a manic set in front of the Galaxy goal C. J. Sapong finally got a leg in just the right place and got the 1st DOOP of the match. His deflection trickled over Bingham’s leg in 29′. That goal had to feel good to Sapong who has had a tough season so far.
The score seemed to wake LA up though, as they mounted attack after attack but Blake was up to the task.
Overall it was an exciting first half in the rain. The Union would end up out-shooting LA 8/7 – 5/4 on target, but LA won the possession battle 55-45. Most of the LA possession came after the U scored, but the U would head into the locker room up 1- Nil.
The second half was all LA, as the Union defense seemed to fall apart as the rain came down harder and harder.
This became a real problem when a perfect pass by Ibrahimovic split the center backs to find Kamara for an easy tip-in past Blake 48′.
Then a waaay too easy eventual game winning goal by Ibrahimovic in 63′ made it LA 2 – Philly 1.
Ciani would ice it in the 82’ as he headed home a CK by Alesandrini to make the final score 3-1 Galaxy.
LA Galaxy Subs:
Romain Alessandrini for Hilliard-Arce Half Time
Sheanon Williams for Pontius 79′
Emmanuel Boateng for Giovani dos Santos 90′
David Accam for Epps 60′
Cory Burke for Sapong 68′
Warren Creavalle for Medunjanin 85′
LA Galaxy Cards:
It was really from the first Union goal on that LA took over this match. A combination of their skill players and lax D by the young Union back line gave this one to LA. They have now lost two home matches in a row. Yes they were to superior teams, but they were in both matches early and then let them slip away.
I understand many came to see the Galaxy superstar Ibrahimovic, but I still want to say that tonight was a very good turnout, despite the weather. The River End was packed and roaring from the start, and even most of the rest of the stadium was pretty full, and would have been even more so if the weather was better. I hope this is a trend and they keep coming when there is not a big name in the house. Time and how this team bounces back will tell.
The Union end this stretch of six games in 18 days, including a Friendly and a US Open Cup match, with the first of three road matches, starting with Houston Dynamo (7-6-5, 26 Points, 7th Place Western Conference) on Wednesday 7/25. Houston has a Texas Derby later tonight against FC Dallas (11-3-5, 38 Pts, 1st Place Western Conference)
If the U want to stay in this playoff race they are going to have to bounce back and get a result in Texas, as they have now lost whatever momentum they gained from the USOC wins and the nice W in Chicago.