The Philadelphia Union’s Concacaf Champions League dreams are no more after Tuesday night’s 3-0 defeat at LAFC.
LAFC’s BMO Stadium has become nightmare fuel for the Philadelphia Union and their supporters. Last season, the Union fell just short of winning the MLS Cup vs. LAFC in a penalty shootout out west, and now Six months later, Philadelphia fall just short of a CCL final appearance in a 3-0 (4-1 on aggregate) loss in Los Angeles.
“It’s a very strong opponent where you have to be almost perfect to get a result and we’ve learned that now through the years. Against a great team like them, you have to be clinical. You can’t make mistakes. And you certainly can’t play down a man because they’ll punish you,” said Philadelphia Union head coach Jim Curtin.
“Obviously a team like them, when they’re up a man and the way they move the ball, it becomes very challenging. So my players still put a ton into it, created a couple half-chances even down a man, gave everything. But, again, you have to be perfect – can’t concede on set pieces like that to beat a good team like this in a high-stakes game.”
The Union boss later acknowledged the rivalry between the two clubs despite his side not being able to overcome the Black and Gold just yet.
“I have a ton of respect for what this club is all about here in LA,” he said. “I have a ton of respect for what the Union’s about. Two good clubs and obviously one of us was going to get to a final and represent MLS. I think rivalries are healthy, so we have a rivalry between us and them.”
While obviously disappointed with the result, Curtin and his squad will look to rebound in the Leagues Cup, U.S. Open and the MLS regular season as well as the postseason. The Union currently sit in 10th place in the Eastern Conference table on 11 points, just one point outside of the playoff spots.
“I think we have a strong enough group to do that, but certainly pushing and trying to get to a final takes a lot of these guys’ legs, the travel, all the things that go along with it. But we want to be a part of these games and we want our club to always be in Champions League.”