Nine seasons in as a club, Carson, California has consistently been a nightmare of a place for the Philadelphia Union to play.
In six visits to the home of the LA Galaxy, the Union have come away with four points — a 2-1 win in 2012 and a scoreless draw in 2017 — and been completely run off the field in three of the other four games, as evidenced by the score lines.
Their first game in Carson in 2010: 3-1 loss. The 2014 game: 4-1. The 2015 game: 5-1. The one respectable loss came in 2011 when the Galaxy rode a 33rd minute goal to a 1-0 win.
Remember when Landon Donovan didn’t make the World Cup roster?
He took out his frustration in his first game after learning his fate with a pair of second half goals in the Galaxy’s 4-1 win. A year later, it was a more balanced Galaxy attack that dismantled the Union with five different goal scorers.
This is all ancient history though, right?
Hopefully with the way the Union are playing riding a three-game win streak and a hard-earned four points on the road in Atlanta and Cincinnati, they’ll play more than the New Jersey Generals role when they return to whatever the stadium is called now on Saturday (10:30 p.m. eastern).
The belief right now is maybe as high as it’s been in April among the Union faithful after the thrilling comeback win over FC Dallas last Saturday, but passing a test against a team not missing key players from the starting lineup as each of the teams they’ve beaten in the last three weeks were would score an important point with the bandwagon holdouts.
“It’s always difficult to go to Los Angeles and sometimes with the West Coast teams there’s a little less familiarity,” head coach Jim Curtin said during his weekly press conference on Wednesday. “You can’t be scared. If you’re scared going into that building with the talent and quality they have you’ll be embarrassed.”
Embarrassing has been a common theme in the first nine seasons of this annual East vs West fixture both home and away. Over a span of 11 games (the teams had a home and home series in 2010 and 2011), the Galaxy have outscored the Union 25-10.
Galaxy star Zlatan Ibrahimović had the game-winner in a 3-1 win in their last meeting in front of the Union’s biggest home crowd of the season last July. Limiting his opportunities in front of goal — something the defense has excelled at over the current four-match unbeaten streak — will be key.
“He’s a world class striker,” Curtin said of Zlatan. “I’m not going to say anything stupid to get myself in trouble and have him angry coming into this game, that’s for sure.”
The game will be broadcast live on PHL17. Be sure to check back here to follow along with updates and share your thoughts during the match in our game thread.