Los Angeles Football Club and the Philadelphia Union play similar high-tempo possess-and-press styles of soccer, and they played a thriller on Sunday at Banc of California Stadium, as they traded goals in a 3-3 draw to close out the MLS Week 2 slate.
The Union took the lead three separate times on the night, but LAFC had quick responses three times to knot the score. There were golazos on both sides, sloppy play at times, and this one turned out to be a classic for the neutrals because neither team could find a winner on the night.
Bob Bradley went with his top XI available for this match, little surprise considering the midweek game coming up doesn’t happen until Thursday night.
Diego Rossi had the ball in the back of the net four minutes in, but the goal was chalked off due to offside by the Uruguayan, and it looked like the right call.
The opening goal came in the 29th minute, as Sergio Santos hit a blast from outside the box that beat Kenneth Vermeer to give the Union a 1-0 lead.
But Carlos Vela stepped up to answer nine minutes later, as he scored his 50th MLS goal, and his first in league play from a direct free kick, to make it 1-1.
The second half started with a bang, but not in LAFC’s favor at first. Jakob Glesnes gave the Union the lead again in the 48th minute with a free kick from way downtown, maybe 40 yards out, to beat Vermeer.
But Rossi tied it up a mere minute later, with a deke and smooth curler.
Rossi had another yet goal moments later, but he was offside in the buildup and the subsequent tally was chalked off.
Philadelphia took the lead a third time in the 69th minute, as Brendan Aaronson found space in the box, received a pass, pivoted and scored. But LAFC had yet another answer, as Eddie Segura scored in the box through traffic on a second try off a set piece, to make it 3-3.
What can you say about this? It’s a return to 2018 for LAFC, with the defense falling apart again and again, but the attack bailing them out this time to get a point. It may be #NeverBoring, but while the response every time they went down was a definite positive, an inability to take the lead and conceding three times on the night, at home, are major red flags, especially with the slate ahead. All that being said, the Union playing a very similar style means they are likely a matchup issue for LAFC, and likely most of the time they play, the game will be tight like this. Full credit to Philly for another strong performance against the black-and-gold.
LAFC next suit up in Concacaf Champions League play, as they’ll host Cruz Azul in the first leg of the teams’ quarterfinal series at The Banc on Thursday, before the teams resume play in Mexico City the following Wednesday. LAFC have a bye in league play next week, so it’s total focus on CCL for the next two weeks. Bring it on.
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