The LA Galaxy looked like they were nursing a hangover as the opening whistle blew at PPL Park on Wednesday night. After having played a game against New England only three days prior, sports data company Opta predicted it would be an uphill battle for the LA Galaxy if they hoped to achieve victory since the Philadelphia Union have gone unbeaten at home in their last seven games.
The starting XI foreshadowed that the LA Galaxy would have a slow midfield and that was apparent from the moment the whistle blew. At the four-minute mark, Philadelphia Union forward C.J. Sapong dumped the ball into the box, which Vincent Nogueria scooped up for an early attempt at goal. Mike Magee came out of position to block the first shot – and also managed to slide-tackle Leonardo in the process. The scrambling that followed opened the door for Nogueria to toe-poke the ball past the tangled defenders and Dan Kennedy.
“It’s always difficult to play on the road you know. It’s difficult, I think our team has to play with the mistakes we made, but we are on the right path and we have to continue like this and look forward to the next game.” Giovani dos Santos, LA Galaxy Striker
After a few terrible early minutes and some questionable passing, the LA Galaxy calmed down and, breaking on the counter-attack, managed to equalize shortly after Nogueria’s early goal. Robbie Rogers sprinted 60 yards downfield while Robbie Keane delivered a peach of a pass to Giovani Dos Santos. Dos Santos beat Philadelphia’s defender to the ball in the box and provided a cheeky overlapping tap to Robbie Rogers who was wide open on goal. Rogers finished the transition with aplomb by blasting the ball into the top left corner of the Union’s goal.
The second half started well enough for the visitors when, following a lovely passing sequence, Gerrard received the ball at the top of the box and dished it off to Mike Magee just as the opportunistic Magee was making a well-timed run at goal. Magee blasted the ball into the top corner leaving Philadelphia’s Andre Blake no chance for a save. However, the Galaxy’s advantage was short-lived. A corner kick in the 63rd-minute had the Union place a header right into the chest of Dan Kennedy. What should have been a simple save instead resulting Kennedy fumbling the ball, which fell to the feet of Keegan Rosenberry who proceeded to score his first professional goal.
The Galaxy was notably fatigued towards the end of the game and the Union were hungry for a third goal. The Galaxy spent the last few minutes of the game desperately trying to keep possession and hold on to the draw. Indeed, the Union took a flurry of shots at goal (22 in total) but only managed to put six on target. By way of contrast, the Galaxy only had four shots on goal but scored two.
“We’ll take the point, but you know when we get the second goal early in the second half, I thought we had to close the game down. Obviously, there was a lot of time left, and we didn’t do a good job of that and probably could have done a better job on that second goal.” Bruce Arena, LA Galaxy Head Coach
For a team that has played two games, three thousand miles apart, in the span of four days, little else could be expected. In the end, the Galaxy manage to escape the City of Brotherly Love with a point. The team will no doubt sleep easy on their Southwest flight back to LA knowing that they have the next eleven days off to recuperate. The LA Galaxy next take the field for a CaliClasico against the San Jose Earthquakes on Sunday, May 22, at the StubHub Center.