Philadelphia Union Preview: West Coast GoalLAzo

Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union

After what was certainly a wild draw against Nashville to open Geodis Park, in a game in which Mikael Uhre finally got on the board, the Union is back on the road again. This time, Philadelphia Union head off to the bright lights of Los Angeles, where they’ll take on LAFC, who are coming off a solid 2-0 victory over Minnesota United.

Philadelphia Union
Mandatory Credit: Nashville SC

Philadelphia Union vs LAFC Preview

It’s been a while since these Phialdelphia Union and LAFC faced off. In fact, the last game before the COVID-19 pandemic started in the 2020 season saw these two teams face off for a 3-3 draw with some absolute bangers, including the goal heard ’round the world from Jakob Glesnes. Let’s take a look at LAFC’s season so far, the player to look out for, and a prediction for a game that will certainly not be lacking in excitement.

2022 MLS Season

There was a lot of intrigue going into this season for LAFC. With Bob Bradley departing as the head coach and Steve Cherundolo coming in, people were naturally curious if LAFC could rise back to the top of the west. Cherundolo, coming in from the USL championship side Las Vegas Lights, had a little bit of work to do to slightly retool a roster that had plenty of pieces but was lacking in a few areas.

Firstly, they addressed the revolving door that has been their goalkeeper situation, trading for Canadian international and Vancouver Whitecaps star goalie Maxime Crepeau. They traded for Franco Escobar from Atlanta United, Ryan Hollingshead from FC Dallas and Kellen Acosta from Colorado.

With all these acquisitions, one would expect this team to be doing well and indeed they are. Through nine games this season, LAFC has amassed a record of 7-1-1 for seven wins, one loss and one draw. They’ve looked convincing in most of these games with some minor slipups and a loss in El Trafico. This will be one of the Union’s most difficult games to this point in the season and certainly one of the most potent attacks that the Union have faced this season.


It should be absolutely no surprise who the x-factor for LAFC is. He’s the man that’s been lighting up the league for a few years now and absolutely making LA his own. This man is none other than Mexican international and Designated Player Carlos Vela.

Through nine games this season, Vela has four goals and three assists to lead the team in scoring, which should come as no shock to the man who won the golden boot a few seasons back. How does one stop an attacking maestro of Vela’s ability?

This is the question that Jim Curtin will need to solve if the Philadelphia Union have any shot of getting at least a point from this game. Carlos Vela can score an absolute goalazo, but at the same time, can lay off the most beautiful of passes to set up a teammate. To stop someone like Vela, you’re going to absolutely give him no time at all. This is a player that if given the time and space will make a team pay.

Getting tightly marked on him and interrupting his presence on the offense will be the biggest task for a Union defense that has done well to this point in the season. With El Brujo one yellow card away from an accumulation suspension, I will be curious to see how Jim deploys Brujo.


This game will be a great one and I have no doubts about that. With a team like LAFC, you can only hope to contain them enough to get at least a point. If the Philadelphia Union feel bold enough, they can try to smash and grab all three points.

The biggest thing looming over the team is the fact that they have to travel straight to Orlando three days later for an open cup match and then come home for a game the following Saturday against NYRB. This is going to test the Union’s depth and Jim’s ability to rotate the very deep squad that he has at his disposal. Despite this, I’m not sure I see too much rotation from the game against Nashville.

The front three of Daniel Gazdag, Mikael Uhre and Julian Carranza are truly starting to develop some solid chemistry and I see them all staying on the field for this game. There could certainly be some rotation with either Leon Flach or Alejandro Bedoya making way. Other than this, I’m not sure there will be too many changes. I think if the Philadelphia Union are going to walk away with at least a point, they will need to capitalize on the few chances that this LAFC team will allow. That being said, I think they walk out of LA with at least one point.

Put me down for a 2-2 draw in a game that will be a war of attrition. Game time for Saturday is an extremely late one, this time at 11 pm EST.

Be sure to come back to Philly Sports Network for more Philadelphia Union and other soccer content!

Follow our Union team on Twitter:

Tim Lovenguth | Justin Friedberg | El Parcero Philly
Zach LoBasso | Steve Beavon | Liam Jenkins

Doop on Union fans!

Mandatory Credit: Nashville SC