LA Galaxy vs. Philadelphia Union | MLS Match Preview

LA GALAXY vs PHILADELPHIA UNION
STUBHUB CENTER, Carson, Calif.
May 25, 2014 (WEEK 12, MLS Game #112)
5 p.m. PT (UDN; TWCSN-LA; CSN-Phi)

The LA Galaxy continue their homestand against a Philadelphia Union squad needing wins, when the clubs match up in an interconference showdown Sunday evening at StubHub Center. The Galaxy snapped their four-game winless streak at midweek, knocking off FC Dallas 2-1 in Carson. Union hit the road still looking for a second victory on the campaign, coming off a wild 5-3 loss at home against the New England Revolution.

REFEREE: Jorge Gonzalez. AR1 (bench): Jeff Hosking; AR2 (opposite): Jason White; 4th: Kevin Stott
MLS Career: 108 games; FC/gm: 25.1; Y/gm: 3.3; R: 35; pens: 27

SUSPENDED: PHI: Cristian Maidana (through May 25)
WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: none
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: PHI: Maurice Edu
DISABLED LIST: none
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: LA: Omar Gonzalez (USA) PHI: none

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (6 meetings): Galaxy 4 wins, 11 goals - Union 1 win, 5 goals - Ties 1
AT LA (3 meetings): Galaxy 2 wins, 5 goals - Union 1 win, 3 goals - Ties 0

LAST YEAR (MLS):
5/15: PHI 1, LA 4 (Okugo 23 - own goal 3; Keane 71; Jimenez 80; Donovan 87)

  • This is the only league meeting between the teams this season.
  • The Galaxy took a 4-1 win vs. Union last May 15 at PPL Park, their first win against Philadelphia since 2011. Union have never defeated the Galaxy at home, losing twice with a draw in three all-time meetings in Chester.
  • Union won in the last meeting between the teams in Carson, a 2-1 victory July 4, 2012.
  • Coaches record: Bruce Arena vs. PHI: P6 W4 L1 T1 John Hackworth vs. LA: P2 W1 L1 T0

LA GALAXY
The LA Galaxy put an end to their winless streak after four matches, returning home for a 2-1 win against FC Dallas on Wednesday evening at StubHub Center. The Galaxy sit in sixth place in the Western Conference with 12 points from 9 games.

LAST MATCH

  • The Galaxy opened the scoring in the 24th minute. Following a nifty build-up, a long, low ball from Gyasi Zardes on the left split three defenders and found Robbie Keane just beyond the FCD box. He quickly beat one defender on the dribble, then cut inside between two more before rocketing a shot to the upper-left corner.
  • The lead was doubled just before the halftime break when Zardes deposited a header over FCD goalkeeper Raul Fernandez, finding space among three defenders at the top of the six-yard box to easily nod home a Juninho chip.
  • FC Dallas pulled a goal back in the 65th minute when Tesho Akindele slipped behind the LA backline to finish a diagonal ball from Jair Benitez, slotting home from about the penalty spot.
  • Galaxy coach Bruce Arena made two changes to the team that lost 1-0 to the Houston Dynamo at BBVA Compass Stadium. Kenney Walker and Gyasi Zardes came into the midfield, replacing Baggio Husidic and Rob Friend.
  • LA GALAXY (4-4-2): Jaime Penedo - Dan Gargan, Tommy Meyer, Kofi Opare, A.J. DeLaGarza - Stefan Ishizaki (Baggio Husidic 74), Kenney Walker, Juninho, Gyasi Zardes - Robbie Keane, Samuel (Raul Mendiola 74).

TEAM NEWS

  • The Galaxy snapped their winless run at four matches, winning for the first time in more than a month, since a 1-0 win vs. Vancouver on April 12.
  • "It has been a long few weeks away from home so it was certainly nice to be in your back garden. I think the way we played was very good," said Robbie Keane. "... I think overall we have played certain way and certain performance. Considering the last few weeks how difficult it was for the team."
  • Keane continued his rich vein of form with his sixth goal of the season, over the last eight matches. He has scored a goal in every game where the Galaxy have found the back of the net (they were shut out three times in their nine matches).
  • Gyasi Zardes made his first start since the season opener and scored his first goal and added his first assist of the season. It was the third time in his MLS career, in 41 games, where he's had at least one goal and one assist in the same game.
  • "I said to him before the game it's important that he had a big game today, and he certainly did," said Keane. "He's a threat. ... He did well. He just needs to mix the game up, which he did tonight. Sometimes go at people - when you have opportunities for one-v-one, take people on. But when we have the opportunity to serve the ball, like [my] goal, for example, a little passing and it's a goal. He mixed his game up well, and we got the rewards for that."
  • Kenney Walker made his first league appearance of the season, playing the full 90 minutes in a central midfield role as Keane moved back to being an out-and-out striker.
  • "Kenny was outstanding tonight. It was very effective the way he played. He talked about simple passing and taking people out of the game and he was talking three to four people out of the game," Keane said. "That's how you play just like how the best players in the world play. Like Xavi and people play very simple but also very effective. That was the case with him."
  • Stefan Ishikazi moved out to a wide midfield role, with Walker and Juninho sitting centrally and Zardes on the opposite flank.
  • "We just play off each other, if one goes the other one stays. It's more of a 4-4-2 rather than a diamond that we have been playing, so it's just sharing responsibilities in attacking and defending," Walker said. "I am not going to hold him back from going forward. I just sit in the front and pass the ball around."
  • Juninho recorded his third assist of the season, his first since getting assists in back-to-back games March 22-April 6.
  • "Juninho had a really good game. He's arguably our best player the first nine games of the season. He's been very consistent and had another good night," Arena said.

PHILADELPHIA UNION
Philadelphia Union couldn't build on their first victory in 10 games, falling 5-3 to the New England Revolution on Saturday afternoon at PPL Park. Union are in ninth place in the Eastern Conference with 11 points from 13 games.

LAST MATCH

  • The Revolution opened up the scoring in the 13th minute when defender A.J. Soares headed in a low, whipped free kick near the corner flag from Chris Tierney. It was 2-0 just another 13 minutes later when Diego Fagundez got in behind the Union's defense on a through-ball from Teal Bunbury and slotted home.
  • Union pulled a goal in the 36th minute when Vincent Nogueira hit an absolute rocket on a bouncing ball from Danny Cruz, driving it into the top of the net.
  • Just four minutes after the halftime break, it was 3-1 to New England when Lee Nguyen slicing through the Union defense in the box and beat goalkeeper Zac MacMath to the near post. Then it was 4-1 in the 57th minute when Tierney blasted home a free kick from just outside of the box after a foul from Austin Berry.
  • Rookie Patrick Mullins then made 5-1 for the Revolution, finishing off a pretty one-two with Fagundez at the top of the area.
  • Union cut the deficit again in the 76th minute when Sheanon Williams pounced on a loose ball from a cleared corner kick and made it 5-2. Then after going down a man when Cristian Maidana was sent off in the 82nd minute, the Union made it 5-3 in stoppage time when Sebastien Le Toux converted a penalty kick.
  • Union manager John Hackworth made one change to the team that came back for a 2-1 win against Sporting Kansas City at Sporting Park. Aaron Wheeler came into the team in place of Fabinho.
  • PHILADELPHIA UNION (4-2-3-1): Zac MacMath - Raymon Gaddis, Aaron Wheeler (Antoine Hoppenot 52), Austin Berry, Sheanon Williams - Amobi Okugo, Vincent Nogueira - Danny Cruz (Sebastien Le Toux 61), Leo Fernandes (Zach Pfeffer 73), Cristian Maidana (ejected 82) - Andrew Wenger.

TEAM NEWS

  • The five goals conceded by Union matched the club record, set twice last season. Two of those occurrences have come vs. New England, also losing 5-1 to the Revolution last Aug. 25.
  • "We only made one change from Wednesday night where we were really good defensively as a team," Union manager John Hackworth said. "But that one change really affected us. There's the fact that guys are playing tired legs and all of those things. But our defense was really poor. You can't let that many chances that easily."
  • Union did score a season-high three goals in the loss, which came after putting an end to their club-record nine-game winless run at midweek at Sporting KC.
  • "That performance wasn't good enough all the way around. I think it gets literally crazy that you don't even expect what was happening out there," said Hackworth. "I'm sure we will find some positives when we look back on it but right now it's a poor, poor performance."
  • Sebastien Le Toux came off the substitutes' bench for the final half hour and scored his third goal, his second from the penalty spot, and also added an assist.
  • After starting the first 11 games in the back four, Amobi Okugo moved into a defensive midfield role for the New England match. Maurice Edu and Michael Lahoud were on international duty with the USA and Sierra Leone respectively, and Brian Carroll was sidelined with a groin strain.
  • "I've been playing there since I was six, so it comes natural to me," Okugo said. "I feel like that's my natural position. It's fun to play there but wherever I play it's about helping the team."
  • Aaron Wheeler and Austin Berry formed the center back partnership for the first time, with Sheanon Williams coming in at left back and Ray Gaddis on the right.
  • "I would have to look at it. Ray Gaddis has played so well and both right and left, Sheanon played really well at left center back on Wednesday night," said Hackworth. "We thought [Diego] Fagundez vs. Gaddis was a good matchup, we thought Sheanon  vs. Teal Bunbury was a good matchup. Clearly we had some problems in other places."
  • Zach Pfeffer made his first MLS appearance since Oct. 27, 2012, coming on in the 73rd minute. He spent the entirety of 2013 on loan to Hoffenheim in Germany after playing just four league minutes in 2012; he made four appearances in his rookie season in 2011.
  • "If there's a bright spot or positive, it's that Pfeffer came on and played well," Hackworth said. "He's a young guy that's doing a good job with the youth national team and the U-20s - It was great minutes for Zach and hopefully we can build on that for him."
  • Said Pfeffer: "I think I have improved a lot in most of the facets of my game. I had a great year in Germany, which helped me a lot, and I need to continue to grow and I need to build on every opportunity that I get. I am happy of where I am at and I need to continue to get some appearances."