CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy needed 20 minutes or so to find a rhythm against the Philadelphia Union, then offered up a reminder of why they've been so good these past few years. While the Union were brighter out of the gate, they showed no answers for LA’s full-scale attack.
Baggio Husidic put away a rebound in the 23rd minute, then delivered the pass that led to Juninho's strike 12 minutes later. In the second half the Galaxy (6-5-7) pulled away with three more goals en route to a 5-1 rout of the visiting Union and vaulted into fourth place in the Western Conference.
Gyasi Zardes, Stefan Ishizaki and Sebastian Lletget tallied after the break for LA, who scored the most goals they've netted in an MLS game since last year's 5-0 romp over Real Salt Lake in the second leg of the Western Conference semifinals.
Husidic and Zardes contributed a goal and two assists apiece for the Galaxy, who scored 11 goals in all competitions this week, which includes a 6-1 destruction of amateurs PSA Elite in the fourth round of the US Open Cup.
C.J. Sapong netted his fifth goal of the season moments after Zardes' 56th-minute finish to give the Union (4-10-3) some hope, but Ishizaki volleyed into the net moments later which put to rest any remaining suspense.
Zardes and Robbie Keane started up front for LA for the first time since early April – not counting their Open Cup victory Wednesday – and A.J. DeLaGarza joined Omar Gonzalez in central defense in place of Leonardo, held out with a hip-flexor strain.
Zach Pfeffer stepped into the right-midfield slot for the Union in place of Sebastien Le Toux, who sprained his left MCL in Tuesday's Open Cup triumph over the Rochester Rhinos. Raymon Gaddis made his first MLS start in a over a month at left back, with Sheanon Williams moving to the left flank and Fabinho to the bench.
Philadelphia came out sharp and dictated terms for the first 20 minutes. The Union came close to taking the lead when Pfeffer forced a leaping Jaime Penedo save at the near post in the eighth minute. Moments later, Maurice Edu nodded a corner kick over the crossbar just a few feet from the goal.
The Union took the game's first five shots, but then LA showed up with Husidic slotting home a rebound after Zardes hit the left post in the 23rd. The play started with an Ishizaki chip from midfield that defender Richie Marquez got his head to, unintentionally nodding the ball to Husidic who played a square pass back to Zardes for the initial shot.
Juninho made it 2-0 in the 35th. After Husidic played Zardes into space on the left flank, Zardes crossed the ball low and into open territory behind Keane and the Union backline. The Brazilian midfielder stepped forward to slot it home from the top of the box.
LA put the game away in a four-minute sequence that started with Zardes' fourth goal of the season. Zardes played a through ball for Keane on the left to start a counter then raced to the penalty area for the return pass, volleying the bouncing ball into the upper-right corner.
Sapong struck for the Union two minutes later, taking a feed in the middle of the penalty area from Andrew Wenger, turning against three defenders, and firing home.
Ishizaki made it 4-1 the following minute with a volley past Marquez and goalkeeper Bryan Sylvestre after Gonzalez, at the far post, headed a Juninho free kick into the middle of the Philly penalty area.
Lletget scored for the third successive game in all competitions, finishing a square ball from Zardes after a Husidic feed in the 65th.
Ishizaki thought he added another in the 78th, but the play was flagged offside.
Cristian Maidana forced Penedo down for a save in the 69th minute and hit the crossbar in the 72nd.
The Galaxy are home Wednesday against Portland and play next Saturday at San Jose. The Union begin a three-game homestand Wednesday vs. Seattle and face Montreal next Saturday.