Philadelphia was a much bigger challenge than people thought, as the Union pulled off a 3-3 draw against championship favorites LAFC.
LAFC was entangled in a six-goal barn burner at home on Sunday night, as its second match of the season against the Philadelphia Union ended in a 3-3 draw. The Black and Gold came into this affair looking to replicate their victory last weekend against Inter Miami.
Philadelphia struck first during Sunday night’s game as forward Sergio Santos scored in the 29th minute from just outside the penalty box. LAFC retaliated nine minutes later, as star forward Carlos Vela scored off a field goal set during the 38th minute. It was Vela’s only goal during Sunday’s match.
The Black and Gold played from behind all night despite dominating Philadelphia in possession at 63% and outshooting the Union 21 to nine. Eleven of LAFC’s shots were on target compared to Philadelphia’s five.
The Black and Gold had many great opportunities to score during the game, but the dominant Philadelphia defense prevented it from doing so.
“Going into the game we knew it was going to be a lot of long balls, a lot of direct play,” said LAFC defender Dejan Jakovic after the game. “Whenever you give up three goals it’s tough, it’s not good enough and you’re not gonna win many games.”
Philadelphia defender Jakob Glesnes kicked off the second half with a bullet shot goal down the middle off a field goal set in the 48th minute. But Diego Rossi scored the game’s last goal in the 49th minute from the left corner of the penalty box, tying the game at 2-2
Philadelphia would eventually score again in the 69th minute, but LAFC defender Eddie Segura scored the game’s last goal in the 71st minute putting the game at 3-3.
Despite the Black and Gold’s turbulent 90 minutes against Philadelphia Sunday night, LAFC midfielder Mark Anthony Kaye remained positive.
“Sometimes you have to be able to bounce back,” Kaye told the Los Angeles Times. “Whenever you come back, you gain confidence. Our quality came out. This game demanded a lot from us.”
LAFC dominated Philadelphia in passing, completing 82% of its 482 passes. Philadelphia only completed only 37% of its 285 passes.
LAFC came out of this game as the more disciplined team, with Philadelphia racking up a concerning four yellow cards.
Goalkeeping was a highlight again. Philadelphia’s Andre Blake had an impressive eight saves on the night. LAFC’s Kenneth Vermeer had only two saves, but made critical stops in the first half that prevented Philadelphia from scoring.
Injury stoppages for Union players were a nuisance for many Black and Gold supporters during Sunday night’s affair, as the game had to be stopped numerous times due to potential Union injuries on the field. This caused a severe eight minutes of stoppage time in the first half and six minutes at the end of the second.
Despite the many injury stoppages, no Philadelphia player was seriously hurt and no one had to be carried off the field
LAFC’s next game will not be an MLS game but the first leg in the quarterfinal for the CONCACAF Champions League. The Black and Goal will face off against traditional Mexican power Cruz Azul. The first leg will be at home for LAFC and the second will be on the road in Mexico City.
The round will be judged on aggregate and the team with the most goals in a span of two games advances to the semifinal.
LAFC is coming off an upset victory against Leon in the first round, and Cruz Azul will serve as another daunting task.
LAFC’s clash with Cruz Azul is set to kick off Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at Banc of California Stadium and will be televised on FS2.