Welcome back to another edition of Three Takeaways, a segment in which I dive in after each Philadelphia Union match, revisit and take a closer look at what went well and what ultimately did not.
On Saturday, July 21, the LA Galaxy and international superstar Zlatan Ibrahimovic came to a rainy Talen Energy Stadium to take on the Philadelphia Union. Despite a halftime lead, Philadelphia were defeated by visiting Los Angeles, 3-1.
There were obviously a few things that Jim Curtin and his team can take from this loss, so, without further delay, I’ll get right to it.
Time and time again, the Galaxy showed off just how explosive they are, and how visibly slower the Union were on the night in comparison. On both ends of the pitch, the Union were beat chasing after 50/50 balls.
Offensively, C.J. Sapong and the Union midfield conceded several opportunities when they managed to get behind the Galaxy defense. Sapong took only one of his chances at goal, bagging a deflected effort in the 29th minute.
Defensively, the Union back line equally suffered, with the Galaxy creating scoring chance after scoring chance time, only for the visitors to bag their first goal in the 48th minute.
In the beginning of the current league campaign, Curtin pointed to the speed of his team after the club brought in David Accam. Now, don’t get me wrong, there are some fast players in the squad, notably Fafa Picault, however, those same players often fail to capitalize on the chances they create from their pace.
In the first half, the Union and Galaxy traded jabs with each other, while it was the home side that ultimately controlled the ball for a solid amount of time and dominated possession, going into the half.
However, in the second 45 minutes, it was the visitors took over, maintaining a persistent attack that Philly simply couldn’t match.
Philly’s own attack was able to put pressure on the Galaxy’s back line from time to time in the second half, but it wasn’t nearly close enough to what they needed to score and counter goals scored by Zlatan and Ola Kamara.
While the weather could’ve played a factor in the Union’s fallout, it is no excuse for them to fall behind in the manner that they did. Their loss of possession and an attack cost them three points, showing that stamina is another weakness to this Philadelphia squad.
A Weak Performance From the Backline
Again, in the first half, the backline did a good overall job of keeping a strong Los Angeles attack away from finding the back of the net, but in the second half, it was a completely different story.
Not one defender or midfielder was trailing Kamara when the Norwegian put the ball past Andre Blake in the 48th minute. Kamara waltzed in for his goal, before anyone in DOOP Hoops realized he was making a run. Thus leading to a near hopeless 1v1 for Blake that ended in the Galaxy’s first goal.
Later, the Zlatan fired a rocket past Blake, after Mark McKenzie gave him a few yards (too many) of separation, something that shouldn’t even happen when defending a player of that caliber.
These mistakes can easily be remedied and are really just a matter of awareness of where you are and who is around you. Philly has a very young, but talented, backline that is more than capable of handling this problem and fixing it.
Please be sure to read the latest Three Takeaways, in which Lister break’s down Philadelphia’s performance away from home, against the Houston Dynamo on Saturday.