By Brian Kowalski
Carson, Calif. -- These are unfamiliar times for the Los Angeles Galaxy and their fans.
Coming into Saturday night’s game, the Galaxy had been pummeled at home by a score of 3-0 last weekend, and found themselves in second-to-last place in the Western Conference with a 2-5 record. With just six points in the MLS season, LA needed to get a win at the StubHub Center against the visiting Philadelphia Union.
In the 21st minute, the Galaxy were inches away from an opening goal. Emmanuel Boateng drove into the defense and the ball was kicked out to the top of the 18-yard box. Joao Pedro, who thus far has no goals on the season, took a left-footed shot that beat goalkeeper Andre Blake and hit the post. The ball skipped to the other side of goal and hit the other post before being cleared away, as the Galaxy did not score.
In the 32nd minute, the Galaxy moved the ball up the field with Giovani dos Santos controlling the ball in the center about 30 yards from goal. Dos Santos slipped a pass to a streaking Boateng who beat his defender and shot on goal from 10 yards away, but Blake was able to deflect the shot.
As the first half drew to an end, both teams had chances to score. In the 37th minute, Philadelphia had a free-kick that was sent into the box from 40 yards away, and two Union players had their head on it for a potential goal.
A minute later, the Galaxy sent the ball over the top of the defense to dos Santos, who almost had a clear shot on goal, but Blake charged out and punched the ball away just in time to keep the game scoreless going into halftime.
“I thought we were the dominant team and we created chances," said midfielder Baggio Husidic. "We were just a little short of winning.”
LA got the second half going with attacking chances, but still couldn’t find a goal. In the 55th minute, a corner-kick gave Jermaine Jones a chance with a header on goal, as he was left undefended, but his shot went over the crossbar.
In the 60th minute, dos Santos took close-range free kick, but LA could not get a clean shot. In the 62nd minute, Boateng had a left-footed shot from inside the box, but Blake made a leaping save in the air to prevent the Union from conceding a goal.
In the 74th minute, Philadelphia earned a freekick from 30 yards away on a Jones foul. Haris Medunjanin took the kick and went for goal, but the shot was a couple of feet wide.
As the game reached the final minutes, both sides became more physical and the referees let them play. In the 81st minute, Jones was knocked down in the box making a run for a cross by Jelle Van Damme, but no call was made from head referee Alan Kelly.
Neither team would score a goal in this matchup, and Galaxy fans were booing as the game ended.
“When you win the middle of the field, and you’re able to press more efficiently – which if you saw our team I thought we pressed well tonight – you have a better chance to be better going forward, and it just gives you better chances to win games," said Coach Curt Onalfo. "It was just something that we felt like we had to do and I thought it worked in the sense that we didn’t concede anything and we created enough chances where something’s got to go in, and we lacked some quality.”
LA will host Chicago next weekend, as they look to end their winless and two-game scoreless streak.