The Philadelphia Union came so close to glory in 2022. They fell short of winning the Supporters’ Shield based on a wins tie-breaker that went the way of LAFC. Philly fought to get to their first-ever MLS Cup Final last season as well where they faced off once again against LAFC, this time head-to-head.
The Final is considered to be the best MLS Cup of all time. It was back-and-forth and went to extra time after 90 minutes saw the score tied at two. Philly scored in the 120+4 minute thanks to Jack Elliot but allowed a goal at the very end of extra time to LAFC’s Gareth Bale. The final went to penalties and it all fell apart for Philly. After a good save from Andre Blake, Philly went on to miss all three of their penalties while LAFC made three to win the championship.
Philadelphia lost out on two different trophies in their historic 2022 season. They ended the year empty-handed thanks to LAFC, but now there is a chance for revenge. Philadelphia takes on LAFC in the Concacaf Champions League (CCL) semifinals, the first of two legs kicks off this coming Wednesday in Chester!
Philadelphia Union readying for Revenge
Philly was just four minutes away from winning MLS Cup, and one point away from winning the Supporters Shield. They lost both to LAFC, and revenge has been on their mind ever since. When the 2023 schedule came out Union fans circled a match all the way at the end of September when Philly would take on LAFC this time in Chester. However, now the two get to faceoff with even bigger stakes on the line.
When the CCL bracket took shape before the start of the season fans could see that there was the possibility of an MLS Cup rematch in the CCL semifinals. That thought has come to fruition, and now we’ll get to see these two teams go head-to-head with a spot in a continental final on the line!
LAFC has come off their double-winning season and has looked even stronger this season. In eight MLS matches, LAFC has five wins, three draws, and no losses; in four CCL matches, they have won three and lost one beating their opponents 4-2 and 6-0 on aggregate. The Union will have their work cut out for them trying to stop LAFC, and their attack will need to be top-notch if Philly wants to make their first-ever CCL final.
Is Philly’s attack clicking at the right time?
While the Union’s main strength lies in their ability to defend and disrupt their opponents’ rhythm with a selective press, their attack may just be the key to getting revenge on LAFC. In 12 matches of MLS and CCL play, LAFC has only conceded eight goals, but their defense isn’t always stellar. Los Angeles loves to get their outside backs forward leaving space on the wings for their opponents to attack, and also isolating their center backs. Could the Union’s attack take advantage of this in the CCL Semifinals?
Mikael Uhre (5 goals,) Jullian Carranza (3 goals, 2 assists,) and Daniel Gazdag (3 goals, 7 assists) are producing good numbers through the first nine games of the 2023 season. While they haven’t been as on fire as they were last summer, Philly’s front three seems to be peaking at the right time.
Adding in the four CCL matches Philadelphia has played, the front three have accounted for 19 goals in 13 matches. In the month of April Uhre, Carranza, and Gazdag turned on the jets contributing eight goals in five matches! If this front three can connect well as they have over the last month, then they may just be able to exploit LAFC’s defense and propel Philly to the CCL final.
154 days later; Union vs LAFC
We are just three days away from Philadelphia vs LAFC. It’ll be a rematch of the best MLS Cup Final of all time and also have huge stakes for both teams to show they are the supreme MLS side. Philly and Los Angeles are the last two MLS sides standing in CCL this season. The other semifinal showcases two Liga MX sides Tigres and Leon. The hype for this two-legged tie is not to be taken lightly.
On Wednesday night it will be 154 days since MLS Cup. The majority of the Union’s roster is the same from that MLS Cup loss. This Philly team has been building for this game since the start of the year. Jim Curtin has said it, this team is all in on the Concacaf Champions League competition. Now that they get to face LAFC, you’ll see the metal of this team.
Can Philly come into the first leg at home and get a winning advantage to take to LAFC next week? We’ll have to wait and see. Philly Sports Network will have you covered with more previews and analysis ahead of, during, and after this monumental matchup!
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Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union