CHESTER, Pa. – Edson Buddle scored his 16th goal of the season and the Los Angeles Galaxy inched closer to the Supporters' Shield by escaping a sold-out PPL Park with a 1-0 win over a pesky Philadelphia Union side on Thursday night.
Philadelphia weren’t intimidated by LA’s star lineup and controlled the ball for lengthy spells from the first kick. Working through the likes of Justin Mapp and Stefani Miglioranzi, the Union pressured the Galaxy early.
But Los Angeles slowly began to force their way back into the game and were able to create chances for Buddle at the top of the pitch.
In the 27th minute, the Galaxy got their breakthrough. Winning a corner kick, LA waited for David Beckham’s impeccable delivery.
As he was showered with boos, the English midfielder did not disappoint, sending a masterful curling ball into the area that was met by the head of Buddle, who slotted it home at the far post to give the visitors the 1-0 lead.
Both sides kept up the pressure until the break but neither were able to get on the scoreboard before the sides went into the locker room at the break.
Coming out stronger in the second half, Philadelphia again kept the pressure on the Galaxy from the opening whistle. Landon Donovan, who was quiet for most of the match, barely saw the ball in the second half as the home team dominated possession.
Philadelphia created a handful of chances, but came closest to finding an equalizer in the 73rd minute, when Sebastien Le Toux and Andrew Jacobson combined for a nice move down the right side of the field.
As he led Jacobson into open field down the flank, Le Toux darted into the box in time to receive his teammate's low cross. With a cheeky flick of his heel, the French striker directed it at Galaxy 'keeper Donovan Ricketts, who dove to his right just in time to paw the ball wide of his goal.
The Union pressed high up the field in the match's final moments, but couldn't crack the Galaxy's resolute back line.
The win puts Bruce Arena’s squad at 56 points and closer to the Supporters’ Shield with the Colorado Rapids visiting the Home Depot Center on Oct. 16.
Philadelphia will again try to play spoiler when their I-95 rivals, the New York Red Bulls, visit that same day in the final match at PPL Park this season.