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Match Preview: Philadelphia Union vs LA Galaxy

One more week and one more match preview. Can the Union make these enjoyable to write again?

CJ Sapong of the Philadelphia Union attempts a header against the LA Galaxy.
CJ Sapong of the Philadelphia Union attempts a header against the LA Galaxy.
Trey Madara / Brotherly Game

Match: Philadelphia Union vs LA Galaxy

Time: 10:30pm EST, 9:30pm CST, 7:30pm PST

Venue: Stubhub Center

Television: The Comcast Network, Spectrum SportsNet

Streaming: MLS Live (Subscription Only)

Referees: REF: ALAN KELLY AR1: Matthew Nelson AR2: Felisha Mariscal 4TH: Daniel Radford.

All-time Record: 1-6-2, -13 GD

What the Galaxy will look like:

This is far from the best LA Galaxy side we’ve seen across the years, especially recently. The first year under Curt Onalfo has been shaky to say the least. The talent is there in droves as usual, but the most successful club in MLS history is definitely in a transition phase after the departure of Bruce Arena to the United States national team.

In seven matches, LA has shown about as much as the Union have. With just six points from seven games, LA is feeling uncomfortable at the bottom of the table in the West. With stud players like Jermaine Jones, Giovani dos Santos, and Romain Alessandrini its very surprising they’ve only scored eight times (equaling the Union). The good news for LA? Visits from Philadelphia have usually been kind. In the four victories in such matches, LA have outscored the Union 13-3.

Yikes.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the Galaxy roll once again and use the Union as a jump-start for their season.

What Philadelphia will look like:

I’m getting tired of saying this, but here we go again. Last week the Union played perhaps one of the best halves they’ve ever played. Going up 3-0 against the Montreal Impact, the Union were finally executing on Jim Curtin’s master plan. Ignacio Piatti was non-existent and it appear the Union had actually turned a corner.

Oh how we were oh so wrong.

The Union allowed Piatti to propel Montreal onto the scoresheet just before half. Following the break, Montreal adjusted to the Union’s game plan and Philadelphia, very characteristically, crumbled. The 3-3 draw was met with obvious disappointment, but not at the performance of the team. It was more frustration that they can’t seem to catch a break. An unlucky bounce of the ball, or a soft PK call, or an own goal is unlucky. Blowing a 3-0 lead at home without making even the slightest adjustment is problematic.

Even if Jimmy C’s seat is safe for the time being, he’s certainly feeling the pressure to win. We’ve seen slight tinkering in the Union’s game plan, but its going to take a more proactive in-game approach to break this duck.

What to expect:

If you’re looking for a game to turn the season around, this isn’t it folks. As much as I want to say the Union can pull a fast one over LA, I don’t see it. This is a Union side that has only ever won once in LA against the Galaxy. The 2-1 victory for the Union in 2012 was an extreme outlier and won’t likely occur this time around - especially not with LA’s star power and sense of urgency to not fall so far behind.

Result: LA Galaxy 4-1 Philadelphia Union

Projected Lineup: GK Andre Blake; LB Fabinho, LCB Jack Elliott, RCB Richie Marquez, RB Keegan Rosenberry; CDM Haris Medunjanin, CDM Alejandro Bedoya; LM Chris Pontius, CAM Roland Alberg, RM Ilsinho; ST CJ Sapong.