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Three takeaways from the Philadelphia Union’s instant classic in L.A.

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Three things that stood out in a game with no shortage of drama

MLS: Philadelphia Union at Los Angeles FC Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

A Vintage Blake

What a match from Andre Blake, huh? The man was kicked, kneed, hit, and just generally bullied by LAFC all night and he came through huge. Despite seeing the ball in the back of his net 3 times, Blake played excellently. Andre had a staggering 8 saves on the night, away from home against arguably (or unarguably) the best team in Major League Soccer. He made one slight mistake during the match when he failed to clear or catch a ball in the air, and then complained that he was obstructed by an LAFC player, which led to LA’s third goal. He can be forgiven for that though as he had taken multiple hits to the head during the course of the match, so maybe he wasn’t playing totally at 100%. Still, the Union are NOT in that match without Andre.

Missing: Jamiro Monteiro

For the second week in a row, Jamiro Monteiro is essentially nowhere to be found. I struggled with whether or not to write about him here as I really don’t have very much to say that I didn’t already say last week. He didn’t have an effect on the offensive end of the pitch, and defensively he left a whole lot to be desired. Again, Jamiro tried to do too much offensively, choosing to try and dribble his way out of situations instead of looking for the (much safer) passing option in front, or behind, him. Yes, it is early in the season. Trust me, I get that. That being said, he is still a Designated Player, and that comes with certain expectations. We need to see much more from Monteiro and soon to justify his record breaking price tag and place on the first team.

The Wizard of Defense

Jose “El Brujo” Martinez made his first start for the Philadelphia Union on Sunday night in Los Angeles, and showed the nation why they call him The Wizard. Multiple successful tackles, a high energy workrate, an 85% passing accuracy, he was all over the pitch for the Union. Besides one rough tackle which led to a yellow card, he showed great composure and anchored the Philly midfield well while getting quite the damage done to his face and having to repeatedly swap his bloody jersey out for a new one. A definite improvement over Warren Creavalle, despite being called a “project” by Sporting Director Ernst Tanner expect to see El Brujo back in the starting lineup over the next few weeks.