CARSON, Calif. – Even though the Philadelphia Union lost both their matches against the LA Galaxy last year, the expansion darlings were certainly no pushovers.
And now that Peter Nowak's squad have re-loaded and improved ahead of season No. 2, the Eastern Conference side figures to be tough on Saturday at The Home Depot Center (7:30 pm PT, FOX Sports West).
WATCH: Galaxy Head Coach Bruce Arena and discuss the match
“Even last year, they didn’t make the playoffs and it was their first year, but you could see that they were getting there,” Galaxy midfielder Chris Birchall said. “They were playing some good stuff. This year they’ll be a better unit.”
The Union have secured a pair of 1-0 victories thus far, on the road against the Houston Dynamo and at home against the Vancouver Whitecaps. A pair of former Galaxy standouts have accounted for their goals, as Danny Califf and Carlos Ruiz have scored a pair of game-winners.
Their camaraderie on the field and ability to play for one another stands out, Birchall said.
“They’re used to playing with each other and it’s the second season, so there’s no surprise really," he said. "They won their first two games and they’re up there at the top. We’ll just have to go out and try and be confident and we’re at home so we’ll go out and try and take the game to them.”
The Galaxy are hoping to turn around their own trend of giving up early goals. If the Galaxy can avoid giving up early goals, as they did in a 1-1 draw against New England and a 4-1 loss to Real Salt Lake, players are confident in a victory.
“We’ve just got to go out and try and get good tactics and try and attack them at home and try and put them on the defensive foot, so they can’t really hurt us,” Birchall said. “We’ll go out Saturday and try and keep it tight the first 15 minutes and then we know if we get through that we’ll probably go on and win the game.”