On Wednesday night, the Philadelphia Union will be taking on LAFC in the first leg of their semifinal tie in the Concacaf Champions League. The second leg of the semifinal tie will take place at the BMO Stadium about a week later, on May 2nd. Wednesday will be the first time that these two teams have met up since the thrilling 2022 MLS Cup Final that happened back in November.
It was a heartbreaking defeat for the Union, as a late Gareth Bale goal tied the match in extra time, and then LAFC would end up winning in penalty kicks. The recent MLS Cup Final was not the only thrilling matchup that the clubs have had together, even though the clubs have only faced off a few times.
Draws, Draws, and More Draws
Since LAFC joined Major League Soccer in 2018, the Union and the California-based club have only faced off a total of five times. Just about every single one of these matchups has been intense and closely fought, which is not a surprise when seeing over half of them have finished with the two clubs drawing. Philly and LAFC have drawn a total of three times out of their five matches, and some people could consider the MLS Cup Final to be a fourth draw, with the match finished in penalties.
Either way, these clubs tend to provide a great showing for all soccer fans with these close and hard-fought matches. The only match out of the five that was not a draw was the first one that the clubs ever had together. LAFC defeated the Union by a score of 4-1, with the home club using a hat trick by Adama Diomande and a late goal by Latif Blessing, to hold off Philadelphia.
Due to the matches between the Union and LAFC being close and well-fought, they have provided some extremely memorable moments for fans throughout the country, and maybe even the world. For Philly supporters, the most memorable moment would have to be one that happened in March 2020, and it was for sure a screamer. Jakob Glesnes scored a rocket free kick from about 40 yards away, which at the time gave the Union a 2-1 lead in the match.
This goal could go down as one of the greatest goals in Union history, and it was for one sure that Philadelphia fans will always remember.
A New Rivalry Established?
While the Union and LAFC may not have played each other a lot in their history, the two clubs can consider each a rival. Ernst Tanner, Philadelphia’s sporting director, can agree with the statement that the clubs are rivals. He said the following about the topic: “It’s definitely a rivalry and we are honored because we have different conditions than LAFC. We are arguably not a super club as they are considered, and you see that reflected in all levels more or less. We basically stand for blue-collar and they stand for everything LA.”
As Ernst Tanner said, both of these clubs have different conditions that they were built on. Philly has been built on their youth academy and finding inexpensive players who are bargains. LAFC is built on bringing in stars and paying them big money. Having two teams with completely different identities performing at these high expectations will definitely help create a new rivalry between them.
All in all, Wednesday night will be an incredible matchup between two of the top teams that the MLS has to offer. Both teams were in the MLS Cup Final last season, and have consistently produced high-quality matchups that all fans of the sport would love to watch. Now each team is looking to advance to the Concacaf Champions League Final, and it will for sure be an exciting semifinal draw!
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