Well, if there’s a silver lining anywhere, the Union won’t have much time to think about this one.
After a solid first 25 minutes at StubHub Center, the Union were once again humbled in Los Angeles with a 5-1 defeat at the hands of the Galaxy. Gyasi Zardes scored one and added two assists in just 71 minutes to lead the way for L.A. C.J. Sapong scored the lone goal for Philadelphia.
“Everyone has to take a good hard look in the mirror when you get outplayed like that,” Union head coach Jim Curtin said. “Starts with myself, but all of the guys as well, it was disappointing. I thought we actually had in the first 25 minutes some chances and started well, had two or three to get a goal, we don’t. And then a good team like the Galaxy, get good looks around goal and they punish you.”
The Union truly were playing some of their best soccer early on in the first half. They controlled possession for much of the first half, including two good scoring opportunities – one that Galaxy keeper Jamie Penedo pushed away from Zach Pfeffer and another from Maurice Edu that was headed over – in the first 15 minutes.
But, neither attempt was converted and just 20 minutes later, the Union were down 2-0.
They came out with some more energy again in the second half, but that was until Zardes and Robbie Keane teamed up for one of the better goals of the entire MLS season. Right on the edge of the box, Keane perfectly placed a pass for a streaking Zardes, who powered home off a volley for a 3-0 lead.
That seemed to be all she wrote, but just two minutes later, Sapong struck for his team-leading fifth goal of the season. After taking a pass from Andrew Wenger just inside the box, Sapong quickly turned and fired past a diving Penedo.
Of course, it was all for naught, as the Galaxy immediately pushed the lead back to three less than a minute later with a goal from Stefan Ishizaki. Sebastian Lletget rounded out the scoring in the 65th minute.
“They were on fire tonight, they beat us soundly,” Curtin said. “We don’t have time to feel sorry for ourselves, we have to pick our heads up and get back to work and try and get a result against Seattle on Wednesday.”
No, the Union will not have much of a breather, as they’ll face the top team in MLS in the Sounders at PPL Park on Wednesday.
As for Wenger, who picked up his second assist of the year on the goal and noticeably picked up his play in recent weeks, he noted how the Union can’t hang their heads with a busy week coming up.
“There are two ways to go about it, you can take a lot of things from it – a lot of poor things to take from it,” he said. “But you can also take the result as it is and move forward. It’s a long season, a lot of games to be played and move past it. We started sprightly, and then just lost a bit of our rhythm. They countered and took advantage of that.”
Veteran midfielder Brian Carroll echoed those words.
“Wake-up call,” he said. “The good thing is we have a quick turn around and we get to play Seattle on Wednesday at home. We have to take what we can from this game, and improve and look deep; put on a much better result. At times we had good possession, and at times we competed well, but they were just better on the night. Then we had some incredible plays around goal and dug ourselves a hole that we couldn’t get out of.”