Clearly the Galaxy players got the memo: The second half of the season has begun.
The LA Galaxy thrashed a depleted Union side 5-1 before 23,875 at the StubHub Center Saturday night.
The Galaxy put out a familiar veteran lineup with Jaime Penedo in goal, Robbie Rogers, Omar Gonzalez, AJ DeLaGarza and Dan Gargan in the back, Juninho and Mika Vayrynen paired in the middle, Baggio Husidic and Stefan Ishizaki on the wings and Robbie Keane with Gyasi Zardes up top. In comparison, the Philadelphia Union were missing three starters from their usual lineup.
Surprisingly, it was the Union who were the aggressors early. First a Zach Pfeffer shot inside the box forced Jaime Penedo to athletically parry the ball wide, then shortly afterwards a Philly corner kick went untouched across the goalmouth before Maurice Edu skied a wide-open header from point-range blank.
However, the Philly defense struggled to put pressure on the ball, and once the Galaxy offense began to click, the floodgates began to open.
The Galaxy went ahead in the 23rd minute. Stefan Ishizaki played an over the top ball for Zardes to run onto, and a Philly defender cleared the ball into Baggio Husidic's path. Husidic smartly squared to Zardes on top of the box, who confidently smashed the ball off the left post. The rebound fell to Husidic, and he calmly collected and fired past goalkeeper Brian Sylvester for the opener.
Juninho doubled the lead for the Galaxy when the Brazilian collected a cross from Zardes on the wing and his low left footed shot deflected off the defender and in.
LA had no intentions of letting off in the second half. Early on Stefan Ishizaki found Baggio Husidic inside the box, but his powerful volley was just high.
Gyasi Zardes scored the third after a brilliant exchange with Robbie Keane. From inside the Galaxy half, Zardes found Keane in the open field and began sprinting down the center of the park. Keane held the ball, waited and eventually returned an inch-perfect cross that Zardes emphatically smashed home.
At this point, you would expect the Union to crumble, but just the opposite occurred as C.J. Sapong quickly turned and fired past Penedo for Philadelphia's only tally.
And yet just a minute later, it was the Galaxy scoring once again from a textbook set piece. From outside the area, Juninho floated a free kick far post for Gonzalez to latch onto, and Omar perfectly squared a header to Ishizaki inside the box, who slammed a volley into the far netting.
Robbie Keane was feeling it, neatly controlling a long ball with the outside of his right boot before hitting a volley that just evaded Sylvester's far post.
The Galaxy completed their scoring spree in the 65th minute when Baggio Husidic found a streaking Zardes inside the box and Zardes squared to Lletget for the one time easy finish.
LA plays at home on Wednesday vs. the Timbers, then travels up north to battle the Earthquakes this weekend.