CARSON, Calif. – Michael Farfan scored deep into stoppage time as the Philadelphia Union snatched a late 2-1 victory over the LA Galaxy at The Home Depot Center Wednesday night.
Farfan, who also contributed an assist in first-half stoppage time, scored the winner in the fifth of an additional six minutes of stoppage time.
The loss was the Galaxy's second consecutive defeat while the Union returned to the victory column after a setback in Houston last weekend.
The night started brightly for the home side as Omar Gonzalez returned to the Galaxy's starting lineup just shy of six months after tearing a ligament in his left knee. The 2011 MLS Defender of the Year, who played 45 minutes in a scrimmage on Monday afternoon, started alongside David Júnior Lopes in central defense, his first start since MLS Cup 2011.
HIGHLIGHTS: LA vs PHI
Whether it was Gonzalez's return or the lively home atmosphere, the Galaxy came out full throttle and placed immense pressure on the Union's backline and 'keeper Zac MacMath from the start. Robbie Keane had three chances in the first 25 minutes but was felled by two goal-line clearances and a save by MacMath. Hector Jimenez also had a shot turned away by the Philadelphia 'keeper.
The Union weathered the storm, and around the 20th minute began to look a bit more composed, passing the ball around more than they had.
Nonetheless, the match seemed headed to intermission in a scoreless draw, but a bit of individual brilliance changed that. Farfan skinned Lopes down the right side of the penalty area, got to the touchline and pulled a cross back toward goal. It found a streaking Jack McInerney, who got to the near post before A.J. DeLaGarza and hit a backheel that snuggled just inside the back post for the 1-0 lead.
When the Galaxy took the field in search of an equalizer, Gonzalez's night ended as Sean Franklin replaced him, sliding DeLaGarza back to central defense.
Philadelphia took a more defensive approach in the second half but did well to keep the Galaxy under wraps initially. LA had another flurry in front of the goal on the hour as Lopes rattled the crossbar and Juninho's follow-up attempt was headed out by Amobi Okugo.
It wasn't until the 73rd minute that the Galaxy nabbed the equalizer. Landon Donovan fed Todd Dunivant on the left side of the area, giving the left back time and space to slip a ball across goal. Somehow the ball made its way through a group of players and Chad Barrett was there to tuck it in, his first of the season.
With LA pushing for the winner, Philly started to find room on the counter. Second-half substitute Antoine Hoppenot nearly scored on a giveaway in the 77th minute as Juninho failed to collect a ball, but was stoned by Saunders.
The veteran ‘keeper could do nothing 18 minutes later, however. Sub Lionard Pajoy held Franklin off along the touchline, then hit a backheel into space for Farfan. The attacking midfielder dribbled into the area and, using DeLaGarza as a screen, beat Saunders to the far post for the 2-1 final.
Philadelphia (5-9-2, 17 points) stay ninth in the Eastern Conference, just one point back of the Montreal Impact but with three games in hand. They’re back in action on Sunday when they host bottom-dwelling Toronto FC.
LA (6-11-2, 20 points) continue to sit just outside the Western Conference playoff hunt in sixth place. They next play at Chicago on Sunday afternoon.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Michael Farfan||Is now matching production to potential as a creative attacking midfielder. His assist was class, and his winner was the work of a cold-blooded assassin.|
|2||Zac MacMath||Young 'keepers are always up-and-down. For MacMath, Wednesday was decidedly "up" as he repeatedly stoned Robbie Keane, keeping his side in the game.|
|3||Chad Barrett||Changed the game when he came on, constantly attacking goal and putting Philly into emergency defending. Could have had a brace, but can't fault him too much.|