After the celebration of soccer and affirmation of their own abilities that was the Los Angeles Galaxy’s 2-1 win over LAFC on July 4 at the Rose Bowl, the Galaxy will hope to keep the good vibes rolling. They look to extend their unbeaten streak against another tough opponent as they host Eastern Conference Champs Philadelphia Union on Saturday, July 8. They do so at the highest point in their tumultuous season. And it’s good the Galaxy is flying high. Galaxy fans have finally begun to see a team capable of matching any team on the field for ability. Now they will hope that that ability, plus the good feeling currently around the club, will help them to another win during this unbeaten streak.
LA Galaxy vs. Philadelphia Union at Dignity Health Sports Park
LA Galaxy’s Current Run of Form
As mentioned above, the Galaxy is currently enjoying its best moment with a six-game unbeaten streak that was almost unfathomable a month ago. That stretch runs back to May 31 and has the Galaxy in the playoff conversation again. LA now has a 4-7-9 record, with 19 points. This is good enough for 13th place and a -12 goal difference in 20 games played. But, the Galaxy now has a five-point lead on last place Colorado and are just six points back on the 9th playoff spot held by Vancouver.
Central to that is the emerging play of Douglas Costa. With his assist against LAFC, Costa has now contributed one goal and five assists in six matches since his return from injury and suspension on June 7. Costa’s five assists are the most in MLS during that span. His understanding with MLS Player of the Match Day Riqui Puig has started to blossom and both ran rings around an LAFC midfield that struggled to keep up.
Throw in the steady play of Tyler Boyd and the dependability of Gaston Brugman, and it might be that the Galaxy has found the core of players to propel it forward toward a playoff charge. And while Chris Mavinga and Kelvin Leerdam might not be long-term CB options for Greg Vanney, both have performed admirably in Jalen Neal’s absence.
Now they just need to settle on the man to lead the line. Vanney went with Preston Judd against LAFC, but the first-year player was largely ineffective. It might open the door for Dejan Joveljic to claim some starting minutes. Whoever it is that starts up top for LA, they will need to grab the opportunity with both hands. Especially with Costa, Boyd, and Puig in such good form.
Philadelphia Union Current Run of Form
By contrast, Jim Curtin’s boys are one of the better performers in the Eastern Conference this season, and indeed across the last few years. In 20 games played in 2023, Philly carries a 10-4-6 record with 34 points. They currently sit in 5th place in the eastern conference, just one point from fourth-place Columbus, but 10 off the conference lead set by streaking and surprising St. Louis City.
Their consistent play has allowed them to keep pace, though. They’ve only lost twice in their last 10 games, with their last win being a 4-1 thrashing of Messi’s future club, Inter Miami. They had a rare blip against Atlanta United, falling 2-0 on the road, but that might be why they’ll be dangerous against LA.
Star men Julian Carranza and Daniel Gazdag will be the ones to watch against the Galaxy. Even more so after having quiet showing in the Atlanta loss. Carranza’s 10 goals and three assists are proof of the attacker’s quality, while Gazdag is having an MVP-worthy season. Gazdag’s nine goals and seven assists in league play, make him one of the most dangerous midfielders in MLS. Gazdag vs. Puig will be fireworks!
The last match between these two teams was a 2-0 Galaxy win way back in April 2019. The Galaxy has not lost in the last seven matches against the Union, with Philly’s only win coming in a 2-1 away win in 2012.
Back home on Saturday
— LA Galaxy (@LAGalaxy) July 6, 2023
LA Galaxy vs. Union Prediction
Despite the Galaxy’s dominance in this series, these are different times. Philadelphia now holds the position of strength and even though it’s at home, the Galaxy are slight underdogs. Even with all the good vibes around the team.
Fortunately, this match hits the Galaxy at the right time. They’d been playing attractive soccer, but could not find results. Against LAFC, they were finally able to marry a good performance with the win. This should give them the belief needed to get something out of this match. With the Union’s record against the Galaxy, LA’s good recent play, and the current good feeling, it’s hard to imagine anything other than a win.
That’s why the Galaxy will extend their unbeaten streak to seven games.
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