Los Angeles Galaxy at Philadelphia Union
When: Wednesday, 7:30 p.m.; Where: PPL Park, Chester, Pa.; Tickets: purchase tickets
TV: Comcast SportsNet with play-by-play announcer JP Dellacamera and color analyst Alejandro Moreno;
Radio: None. Referees: Ismail Elfath (main) Craig Lowry, James Conlee, Chris Penso (fourth)
Every match is vital.
But there are some matches that are always extra enticing for the players as well as the fans.
Take Wednesday’s match as a prime example. The two-time defending MLS Cup champion LA Galaxy will battle the Union under the lights at PPL Park.
Anytime you’re facing the club holding the league’s hardware for the last two seasons, it’s a huge match.
“Our focus has been trying to prepare and recover from Chicago on a short amount of time,” Union manager John Hackworth said in the aftermath of a 1-0 victory last Saturday at Chicago. “But the reality is there will be a little more juice in there. I don’t know if it will be in the legs but it will certainly be emotional because of youth. There’s a little bit more of a spotlight on you for sure. You’re playing at home. All those kinds of things.
“Probably for our team, there’s probably a little bit of a feeling in that people don’t give us enough respect right now and even when we go and we win games, it doesn’t seem like we’re getting enough credit for it. Having an opportunity to play L.A. at home is a really good game to try to make a statement. So I think there will be a little extra motivation there for sure.”
The Galaxy enter this match at 4-3-2 despite dropping two in a row. The Union are 4-3-3 but 1-3-1 all-time against the Galaxy.
Could this be a measuring stick type of match for Philadelphia?
“I don’t look at it as a huge measuring stick,” Hackworth said. “I think it’s an opportunity for us to again make a bit of a statement because we do have if not the best team in the league, certainly one of them. Right now, you know they’ll be there at the end of the year. Their goals are always to win the cup and they have done so the last two years, so this kind of game is really important for us.
“Big picture, we try to keep it all in perspective and take it a game at a time. Coming off a Chicago game where we had a good result, I felt like we could have played a lot better on the field. It’s an opportunity for us to play and reinforce the things that we need to do well game in and game out. Certainly, we have a lot of areas to improve from Saturday.”
It’s difficult to mention the Galaxy without mentioning forward Landon Donovan. He’s on target Wednesday to become the fourth player in Galaxy history to appear in 200 regular season games. He’s already the club’s all-time leader in goals scored with 93.
Donovan’s 80 career assists are tied for second most in club history.
It's not just Donovan. The whole club is dangerous.
The Union are fully aware of the importance of a game like this. When you’re playing an elite club, the players know it. And they look forward to it.
“It means you get to test yourself at a little higher level,” Hackworth said. “It means a lot to play the champions and the kinds of players they have. Anytime you’re facing Landon Donovan and company, it’s a huge honor. These kinds of games, players look forward to and you get a little more juice for it.”
Contact Union writer Andy Jasner at firstname.lastname@example.org