LA Galaxy Surrender Lead, Settle for a Draw against Philadelphia Union

Carson, CA. - February 24, 2016:  The LA Galaxy and Santos Laguna played to a 0-0 draw in CONCACAF Champions League play in the first leg of quarter finals at StubHub Center.

Carson, CA. – February 24, 2016: Dan Kennedy, above, and the LA Galaxy played Santos Laguna to a 0-0 draw in CONCACAF Champions League play in the first leg of quarter finals at StubHub Center.

By Alex Baker

LOS ANGLELES – After coming from behind and taking the lead, the LA Galaxy gave up a late goal and had to settle for just a single point on the road against the Philadelphia Union on Wednesday.

The home side broke the deadlock early on as Vincent Nogueira latched onto a rebound from his own shot, beat the Galaxy defense and let loose a right footed shot from the center of the box that found the bottom right corner; making it 1-0 in the 4th minute of play.

“The first goal was a bit unlucky,” said Galaxy keeper Dan Kennedy, speaking to lagalaxy.com afterwards. “We have two guys make the same play which had to be made. The ball squirts out to them in a fortunate position, he tucks it away.”

The Galaxy pulled one back just 10 minutes later through a well-worked move up the right flank that saw Giovani Dos Santos sweep into the box, wrong-foot his marker, and lay the ball off for an overlapping Robbie Rogers. The fullback curled a left footed shot into the far corner to make it 1-1 in the 15th minute.

The Galaxy went ahead early in the second half, as Steven Gerrard slipped a ball into the path of an onrushing Mike Magee, who blasted a shot past Union keeper Andre Blake to give the Galaxy the lead in the 47th minute.

“It was a real good goal,” said Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena. “It was a great finish by Robbie [Rogers] and I thought [Mike] Magee’s goal was a good one. There was some combination play with Dos Santos and Gerrard, and Mike did well to finish. We scored two good goals.”

You’d have expected the Galaxy to close up shop at that point and make it back to L.A. with all three points. However, a fumble on a corner from Kennedy gifted Keegan Rosenberry an opportunity that he duly buried in the back of the net to make it 2-2. It was the Philadelphia defender’s first MLS goal and it was enough to earn his side a draw.

“We’ll take the point,” reflected Arena afterwards. “But you know when we get the second goal early in the second half, I thought we had to close the game down. Obviously, there was a lot of time left, and we didn’t do a good job of that and probably could have done better on the second goal.”

“I feel it’s always difficult to win away from home, without all of our fans,” said Galaxy defender Ashley Cole. “We are not used to the pitches, but going 2-1 up, you would expect us to go for the game and see it through. But it’s not to be, we lost all three points and we have to look at the positive and take the point.”

Despite extending its unbeaten streak to eight matches, the dropped points mean the Galaxy missed out on the opportunity to climb into second in the Western Conference standings. Instead, L.A. will remain in third heading into an extended period of rest ahead of its home fixture against the San Jose Earthquakes on May 22.

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