Los Angeles FC is gearing up for a major challenge this week against Liga MX leaders Cruz Azul, but on Sunday Bob Bradley’s men found themselves wrapped up in a six-goal thriller against the Philadelphia Union.
LAFC fought back on three separate occasions to earn a 3-3 home draw with the visiting Union at Banc of California Stadium. Carlos Vela and Jakob Glesnes had the standout finishes of the night, while four other players got on the scoresheet.
It was a frantic first half in Los Angeles, with Sergio Santos opening the scoring with a strong curling effort. The Brazilian took one touch in the 29th minute before curling a right-footed shot into the bottom-left corner. It was Santos’ fifth career MLS goal.
LAFC was denied earlier in the half as Diego Rossi and Tristan Blackmon’s efforts were saved by Andre Blake. However, the reigning MVP Vela pulled the defending Supporters’ Shield winners with beautiful free kick. The Mexican forward’s left-footed effort beat Blake to the top-left corner for his 61st career MLS goal.
The Union did not lay down though as offseason acquisition Jakob Glesnes opened his scoring account with a 40-yard screamer past Vermeer. It was a superb hit from the Norwegian who at the moment put the Union in front 2-1 in the 48th minute.
LAFC needed just 1:09 to hit back for a second time as Rossi’s right-footed curler beat Blake into the top-right corner.
The madness continued with Blake making another save on Rossi later in the half, before the Union took advantage once more. Brenden Aaronson celebrated his way into the U.S. U-23 Men’s National Team Olympic Qualifying roster by scoring his first goal of the season. Santos passed to an open Aaronson who slotted home from point-blank range in the 69th minute.
Eddie Segura got in on the action in the 72nd minute, finishing home a loose ball to cap off the scoring.
Blake’s most important save came in stoppage time after the Jamaican denied Brian Rodriguez’s last-gasp attempt.
Blake put in a Man of the Match performance for the Union, making a total of eight saves to help his team earn their first point of 2020. Vermeer made a pair of saves after not being tested against Inter Miami on Week 1.
LAFC are off next week in league play, but face Liga MX side Cruz Azul twice in the Concacaf Champions League quarterfinals.
The Philadelphia Union host the San Jose Earthquakes in their home opener on March 14th.
Man of the Match
Blake was key for the Union, making eight saves in the draw. Despite getting hit in the head twice on separate occasions, the Jamaican veteran came up big on several stops against the league’s best offensive attack.
Moment of the Match
Glesnes’ strike was the pick of the litter as the centerback’s first goal will certainly be remembered in Philadelphia Union history.
Match to Forget
Mark-Anthony Kaye registered one assist, but was poor in possession otherwise on the night. The Canadian lost 10 duels in midfield while also finishing with only a 76% passing completion rate. He was substituted off in the 69th minute.