The LA Galaxy’s 1-0 win over the Philadelphia Union on Thursday was tougher than it seemed.
While Philadelphia had already been eliminated from postseason contention before the match, the expansion Union had lost just twice at home all season. The club featured Most Valuable Player candidate Sebastien Le Toux (13 goals before the game) as well as Rookie of the Year candidate Danny Mwanga (seven goals).
Combine that with the Galaxy’s short week, and the game was rather tricky. Thus, LA wanted to do whatever it took to get a result. When Edson Buddle scored midway through the first half then, the club did just that.
Behind Buddle’s 16th goal of the season, the Galaxy preserved their advantage and walked away with the victory in their first-ever trip to PPL Park.
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“It was a good win for us,” Galaxy coach Bruce Arena said. “We didn’t play particularly well, but the short week and having to travel cross-country, having played Sunday night made for a tough week.
"[It was] one of those games where we certainly know on the road if we get a goal, we're going to try to get off the field 1-0 and we got that accomplished.”
Los Angeles improved their record to 17-6-5 and upped their point total to 56. The three points give the Galaxy a clear advantage towards accomplishing one of their major goals from before the start of the 2010 season.
“At this point of the season, points are important for us,” Arena said. "It was a big win on the road. We’re in good position with two games to go. We’d certainly like to finish on top of the west and win the Supporters' Shield. We have control of those things at this time.”
In fact, the Supporters' Shield could be wrapped up with one match remaining. With a win over Colorado on Oct. 16, the Galaxy could clinch both the Shield and the regular-season Western Conference title, rendering their season-ending game against FC Dallas somewhat meaningless.
Finding success on the road helped the Galaxy build up a large lead over the rest of the league and did so once more on Thursday. The shutout was their ninth road clean sheet. A.J. DeLaGarza started at central defense for the second consecutive match and paired with Omar Gonzalez to put the clamps down on Le Toux and Mwanga.
“It was a very good defensive effort,” Arena said. “We didn’t produce a whole lot going forward but, again, we did enough to get the goal and keep them on their heels a bit at times. [It was] one of those games where we were going to take the three points on the road like that.”