Making six changes to the starting lineup and playing on just a few days rest, LA battled to a hard fought 2-2 draw vs. a new-look Philadelphia Union in an exciting contest Wednesday night at Talen Energy Stadium.
#LAGalaxy XI: Kennedy; Rogers, Leonardo, Van Damme, Cole; Husidic, Gerrard, Magee; Dos Santos, Zardes, Keane #PHIvLA pic.twitter.com/cUrXDbfFVt— LA Galaxy (@LAGalaxy) May 11, 2016
Under the direction of new Sporting Director Earnie Stewart, the Union have thrived this season, and after just five minutes, LA fell behind. Left back Fabinho played a low cross across goal that C.J. Sapong ran onto, and after his shot was blocked by Jelle Van Damme and a second attempt brilliantly stopped by Mike Magee, Vincent Noguiera poked home the loose ball past the stretched leg of Dan Kennedy.
The Union were putting serious pressure on LA early, and when Sapong dangerously re-directed a dangerous corner kick across the face of the goal, the wake-up call was loud and clear.
However, LA soon equalized on a breathtaking counter-attacking sequence. Mike Magee was able to break the Union pressure for the first time all afternoon, and after Gerrard slipped a pass to Husidic that eventually got to Robbie Keane, the Galaxy captain played a weighted ball to Giovani dos Santos, who cut inside Fabinho before rolling a delicate pass to the overlapping Robbie Rogers, and Rogers guided a quick curving shot into the side netting.
Chillin' out maxin' relaxin' all cool. https://t.co/t60tmGxMhy #PHIvLA pic.twitter.com/nTFxEx1Xps
— LA Galaxy (@LAGalaxy) May 11, 2016
Both teams exchanged close calls soon afterwards, as Chris Pontius was inches away from a Union cross, then a Gio effort from the left corner violently ricocheted over the goal to the delight of goalkeeper Andre Blake.
The Galaxy took advantage of a lackadaisical Union defense to go ahead early after the break. A quick sequence between dos Santos and Gerrard led to Mike Magee with time and space inside the left side of the box, and Magee effortlessly passed the ball into the roof of the net to hand LA the lead.
Dear @magee18,— LA Galaxy (@LAGalaxy) May 12, 2016
You are wonderful. Never change.
Love, #LAGalaxy https://t.co/t60tmGxMhy #PHIvLA pic.twitter.com/kND9lJ2GvK
But this isn't the same old Union, and in the 63rd minute, it was Philadelphia's turn to equalize. A Union corner kick was headed in Dan Kennedy's direction, and though Kennedy made the save, he was unable to secure the rebound and the ball was eventually shuffled in by rookie Keegan Rosenberry.
The Union would pepper the Galaxy goal late, but LA held on to earn a well-deserved point on the road.