Union and Galaxy Play to 2-2 Draw
CHESTER, Pa. (973espn.com) – Small steps.
The Union outplayed their long-time nemesis, the Los Angeles Galaxy, but settled for a 2-2 tie Wednesday night to stay unbeaten at Talen Energy Stadium this season.
Philadelphia's persistent struggles against MLS' marquee team are well documented and the stalemate improved the franchise to just 1-6-2 all-time against the five-time MLS Cup champs.
The Union (4-3-2, 14 points) are 3-0-2 on the Delaware Riverfront this season, however, and haven't lost on the Talen Energy pitch in seven matches dating back to last season.
"It is safe to say, two very good teams going at it, at a different night maybe we could catch a difference bounce here and there and come away with three points," Union coach Jim Curtin said. "We don’t believe in marvel victories but at the same time we were playing toe to toe with the top team in the west, former champions. I’m proud of my team I thought they put a lot into the game continued to push, finished the game with three rookies on the field against some pretty darn good players the Galaxy have."
Philadelphia jumped on top early in the fourth minute when a persistent Vincent Nogueira found himself with the loose ball in the box. His first attempt was blocked by an LA defender but the veteran midfielder followed like an NBA jump shooter and slotted it past Galaxy goalkeeper Dan Kennedy.
It didn't take long for the powerful Galaxy (5-1-4, 19 points) to even things as Giovani dos Santos left it for Robbie Rogers with some deft ball handling on Andre Blake's left flank and Rogers easily beat the Union GK to the far side in the 15th minute.
By the 48th minute LA had its only lead of the night when Mike Magee found the back of the net but the Union evened things again 15 minutes later off a corner kick when Kennedy stopped a Chris Pontius header before rookie defender Keegan Rosenberry, stationed on the doorstep, put the rebound home for his first career marker.
"It was thrilling," Rosenberry admitted. "It wasn’t too much on the finish obviously, but yeah I mean right place right time. It’s just a matter of being aggressive in the box and ball roll in. Thankful for the right place."
The Union had multiple chances to get the three points in the 30-or-so minutes left as Kennedy was inundated with traffic time and time again, even drawing a yellow card at one point for time wasting as he tried to drain the clock.
Pontius, particularly had two excellent opportunities.
"It was pretty good, we had the movement and a lot of chances, and the crowd was into the game too," Pontius said. "It was pretty special. Like I said, if we can just put a couple balls away it will go our way."
Philadelphia finished with 22 shots on the night, including six on target, versus just four for the Galaxy but LA was very economical as the two that actually reached Blake found the net.
The Union also held the possession advantage (50.7 percent to 49.3 ) and connected on more passes (78.1 percent to 72.2).
"A a good learning experience, again disappointed we did not take all three points tonight but we are going to be tough to beat in this building and our guys have really laid that foundation and I was happy with the effort," Curtin said.
Philadelphia returns to action on Saturday against the Eastern Conference-leading Impact in Montreal and will be back in Chester on May 20 for a bout against DC United.
-John McMullen covers the Philadelphia Union for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen.