While the offensive attack of the Philadelphia Union didn't show itself until the second half in Houston, the team did generate enough to win, or at least draw, had their finishing been better. Full credit goes to Tally Hall for his great save on Michael Farfan, which could have given the Union a 2-1 lead this past Saturday night.
Instead, the game remained even at 1-1 until the controversial call in the box and subsequent penalty kick converted by Brian Ching. While I do think the foul call on Gabe Farfan was soft, and at the very least controversial, interim manager John Hackworth was very diplomatic after the game, taking the high road and not being critical of the match referee Fotis Bazakos. Instead, Hackworth focused on the Union finishing and the need to bury sitters. Despite that penalty call, the Union could have done a little bit more to at least assure themselves of a point on the road.
Instead, they head out for another road game, this time versus the dangerous LA Galaxy. The Union caught a break when a David Beckham late yellow card vs. San Jose put him on the suspended list for Wednesday's game. Even without Beckham, LA has so many weapons, including top goals scorers Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane. This will also be a highly motivated team, not thrilled with blowing a 3-1 lead vs. the Quakes in a highly emotional road game on Saturday.
After a very poor start, the Galaxy have won three of their last four games, going from the Western Conference basement to a spot just outside of the last playoff spot. LA's defense, poor by their standards, has been better lately if you remove the last game vs. San Jose. Prior to that loss, the Galaxy had only given up two goals during a three-game win streak that saw the club record their first two shutouts of the season. Last year they led the league in shutouts while posting the top defensive record in all of MLS.
For the Union on Wednesday, they get Jack McInerney (stomach illness) and Raymon Gaddis (suspension) back. What's unknown is the status of Sheanon Williams. Cramps took him out of the Houston game late, and while he's not injured, this could be a case where he may sit vs. LA to be more ready for the Toronto home game, Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup semfinals vs. Sporting Kansas City, and another home game vs. Montreal, all within a seven-day period beginning next Sunday.
For Hackworth, it has to be tough to manage minutes when you're looking for points, facing their fourth game in 12 days when they visit the Galaxy.
I would expect a return to the starting lineup for McInerney, and most likely a return to the 11 for Freddy Adu and Michael Lahoud. Whoever starts up front must create chances, then finish. In the last game, while Keon Daniel did score a goal, he plus Jorge Perlaza and Lionard Pajoy combined for a total of four shots, one shot on goal and one goal. Over a 90 minute game, that's not enough offense from a 4-3-3 that's designed to create more.
The Union have yet to beat the Galaxy in four previous tries. On the 4th of July, they hope to be the team that's setting off the fireworks.
Hope you'll join us for a late start from the West Coast on Comcast SportsNet. Our coverage begins with the pre-game show at 10 p.m.
Preview: Union at Galaxy