2019 Major League Soccer, Regular Season
  • Kacper Przybylko (3')
  • Carlos Vela (43')

Vela scores in return, LAFC draw with Union

Union strike early in showdown with LAFC (1:10)

Major League Soccer: Kacper Przybylko (3') Philadelphia Union 1-0 LAFC. To watch MLS sign up for ESPN+. (1:10)

Carlos Vela scored his MLS leading 28th goal of the season in his return from a two-game injury layoff, but Supporters' Shield leaders LAFC settled for a 1-1 draw against the Philadelphia Union on Saturday night at Talen Energy Stadium.

LAFC (19-4-7, 64 points) have already clinched the Western Conference championship and hold a seven-point lead over New York City FC for the Shield, the trophy awarded to the team that finishes with the best regular-season record.

But they're now winless in their last four matches -- including three draws -- after having gone no more than two games without a victory for most of the season.

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Kacper Przybylko scored his team-leading 14th goal for Philadelphia (15-8-7, 52 points), which moved within five points of NYCFC in the Eastern Conference standings, and is now four points ahead of third-place Atlanta.

The Union have never finished above third in the East since entering the league in 2011. The top finisher in each conference secures a bye in the 14-team playoff field.

Vela tied the game at 1-1 two minutes before halftime. Diego Rossi sprayed the ball wide to Mark-Anthony Kaye, who struck a first-time volley over Union keeper Andre Blake and off the crossbar. Vela was first to the rebound inside the penalty area, and he poked in a finish that deflected off a couple Union players on its way over the goal line.

The longtime Mexico international played 66 minutes before exiting in his first action since Aug. 25. On that night, he departed a 3-3 draw against the LA Galaxy in the 61st minute with a hamstring injury.

Przybylko gave Philadelphia the lead after only three minutes with his fifth goal in his last six games following a flowing attack down the right flank. After taking a pass from deeper in midfield pass, Alejandro Bedoya played the ball forward to Fafa Picault, who then curled in a cross toward Przybylko near the penalty spot.

The ball was nearly too high for Przybylko. But the German arched back and managed to send a looping header back toward the right post, over wrong-footed goalkeeper Tyler Miller, just under the crossbar and across the goal line.

Major League Soccer Standings

1 LAFC 34 +48 72
2 Seattle Sounders FC 34 +3 56
3 Real Salt Lake 34 +5 53
4 Minnesota United FC 34 +9 53
5 LA Galaxy 34 -1 51
6 Portland Timbers 34 +3 49
7 FC Dallas 34 +8 48
8 San Jose Earthquakes 34 -3 44
9 Colorado Rapids 34 -5 42
10 Houston Dynamo 34 -10 40
11 Sporting Kansas City 34 -18 38
12 Vancouver Whitecaps 34 -22 34

Major League Soccer Standings

1 New York City FC 34 +21 64
2 Atlanta United FC 34 +15 58
3 Philadelphia Union 34 +8 55
4 Toronto FC 34 +5 50
5 DC United 34 +4 50
6 New York Red Bulls 34 +2 48
7 New England Revolution 34 -7 45
8 Chicago Fire 34 +8 42
9 Montreal Impact 34 -13 41
10 Columbus Crew SC 34 -8 38
11 Orlando City SC 34 -8 37
12 FC Cincinnati 34 -44 24