CHESTER, Pa. -- The Union wanted respect. What they got was a reality check.
Led by Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane, the L.A. Galaxy scored three times in the second half to roll over the tired Union, 4-1, Wednesday night at PPL Park.
“They are two of the best players in this league and are two world-class players,” said Union coach John Hackworth. “We should have done a better job containing them and we didn’t.”
The loss pushes the Union’s overall record to 4-4-3 and gives them 1-2-2 home record on the season. The Galaxy move to 5-3-2.
“Our mentality might be tougher on the road and we try to push things at home,” said Hackworth. “That game opened up which hasn’t been something we’ve been good at. We keep it tighter on the road.”
Whether it’s at home or on the road, the Union simply need wins.
“We want to win, period, whether it’s at home or on the road,” said Union defender Sheanon Williams. “We just need to win games. That’s what will put us where we want to be in the end.”
The highlight for the Union came in the opening half. Though they began the contest living an error-filled nightmare and early goal against, they managed to battle back to tie the game. Taking advantage of relaxed Galaxy marking in the 23rd minute, Williams’ strong throw-in found uncovered Amobi Okugo at the top of the crease for the easy header.
“Sheanon put it on a platter for me,” said Okugo. “I tucked it away.”
However well-known his throw-ins are around the league, Williams still seemed to surprise the Galaxy defenders with the distance.
“They don’t think he can throw it that far,” Okugo said. “I don’t know if the wind took it but it landed right there on the six-yard box and I was able to put it home for the goal.”
The goal was Okugo’s second of the season and tied the game at one.
“We probably played the best 40 minute we played in the first half and had the two-time defending champs on the ropes in a big way,” Hackworth said. “We have to be able to sustain that.”
But they weren’t able to. Catching the Union defense sleeping in the 71st minute, Donovan gained the top of the box and threaded a simple pass to Keane in alone on goal. Missing his last three games with an ankle injury, Keane showed no rust, easily scoring for the 2-1 Galaxy lead.
The reigning two-time MLS Cup champion Galaxy padded their lead in the 80th minute, when uncovered Hector Jimenez found the ball alone in the Union box. Jimenez easily scored for the two-goal lead. Seven minutes later, Donovan broke down the Union defense once again, scoring to make it 4-1.
“There were some lapses there and I think we made some glaring errors defensively as a group,” said Hackworth. “We have to correct those. I’m going to go back and look at the tape.”
Donovan finished with a goal and two assists.
“We got stretched and we didn’t keep possession on the ball like we did in the first half,” said Hackworth. “There were a lot of silly turnovers early in the second half and we never got our momentum back. We never put the game on our terms again. You can’t lose Robbie Keane in those situations.”
The end was much like the beginning the for Union Before the hosts could even break a sweat, two Danny Cruz turnovers and a near miss on goal by the Galaxy had the Union staring down a corner kick from the always-dangerous Donovan. The forward’s lethal free kick spun deep into the Union box and directly to goalie Zac MacMath, who got tangled up and had the ball hit off the side of his face and in for the own goal and 1-0 Union deficit.
“He’s got Omar Gonzalez and [Bakary] Soumare in front of him,” said Hackworth of MacMath. “I don’t think he saw it. It literally comes off his shoulder and face. It’s tough to deal with those guys in that way. But he kept us in the game when it was still 1-1 and that’s all you can ask.”
Despite the early bloopers, the Union immediately began to push back. Earning a corner of their own just moments after conceding the opening score, Keon Daniel lofted a ball that landed on the foot of streaking Kleberson. Earning his first start with the Union, the Brazilian got off a healthy shot but was turned away by a stunning Carlo Cudicini save.