Galaxy look to keep rolling vs. Union
The LA Galaxy will look to continue their best stretch of the season when they visit the Philadelphia Union on Saturday night.
The Galaxy (8-7-4, 28 points) have won two straight and are unbeaten in their last six after a 3-2 comeback win at the New England Revolution last weekend that featured two goals in second-half stoppage time.
Dave Romney equalized two minutes into the time added on, and then Chris Pontius scored his second of the game a minute later in a result that put LA in sixth place in the Western Conference standings, just above the playoff line.
The effort marked Pontius' eighth multi-goal performance during a 10-year MLS career, one that arrived at an opportune time with superstar striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic not making the trip to New England.
Ibrahimovic had knee surgery in 2017 and won't play regular season games on artificial surfaces in regular season games, LA coach Sigi Schmid said.
But he should be back in uniform when the Galaxy visit Talen Energy Stadium in search of their fourth league victory in 10 matches.
"The guys are understanding how to play with him, so we had to adjust a little bit today," Schmid said after the victory. "Overall, the understanding within the team has been good and today we ended up making a couple of changes in the second half formation-wise where guys were playing and the guys adjusted really well to that."
The task of limiting to Ibrahimovic will likely fall to a pair of 19-year-old defenders in Mark McKenzie and Auston Trusty.
The youthful centerback duo, produced through Philadelphia's youth academy, have combined for 30 starts this season in league play. That doesn't include the U.S. Open Cup, where they helped keep Orlando striker Dom Dwyer off the scoresheet in a 1-0 quarterfinal victory on Wednesday.
Doing the same on Saturday will present a higher level of difficulty, McKenzie said after Wednesday's win.
"Zlatan is world class, so you watch film on them and know what to expect in a game (and) they'll come out and do something completely different, he said. "It's just a matter of keeping composed and understanding what the game means. And again, trying to eliminate his chances whenever he gets the ball."
Jamaican forward Cory Burke had his second consecutive start for the Union (7-9-3, 24 points) in their Open Cup victory. But after scoring twice in a 4-3 win at Chicago on July 11, he didn't find the net over 63 minutes vs. Orlando before CJ Sapong came on.
Sapong has been Philadelphia's starter for most of the year but has scored only twice in 18 appearances after posting a career-high 16 goals a season ago.
Updated July 20, 2018