The Union lost, 4-1, at Los Angeles FC on Saturday night. Adama Diomande scored a hat trick, and while Fafa Picault cut the deficit to 2-1 at halftime, the home team was rarely truly threatened in the game at Banc of California Stadium.
Both teams were without some key attacking players. Union midfielder Borek Dockal was absent because his wife gave birth to their second child a few days ago. LAFC missed its two biggest stars: midfielder Carlos Vela (at the World Cup with Mexico) and striker Diego Rossi (hamstring injury).
Diomande stepped in for Rossi, and showed why LAFC signed him from English club Hull City. He opened the scoring in the 25th minute with a fine goal, pulling a crossover dribble on Mark McKenzie then shooting to Andre Blake's far post.
The second goal came in the 43rd, thanks to another spell of poor defending by the Union (6-8-3, 21 points). Benny Feilhaber and Mark-Anthony Kaye cut passes through four Union defenders, with Kaye's setup to Diomande going untouched by three of them. Diomande was left with an easy tap-in finish.
The Union struck back two minutes later. Marcus Epps beat two defenders off the dribble, then hit a low cross that LAFC goalkeeper Tyler Miller could only parry. Fafa Picault pounced on the loose ball and volleyed it in.
LAFC (9-4-3, 30 points) kept looking good early in the second half, and Diomande completed his hat trick in the 54th minute by pouncing on a loose ball in the six-yard box.
Latif Blessing capped off the scoring in the game's final minute, cleaning up a rebound after Andre Blake stopped Lee Nguyen.
While Diomande was LAFC's headliner for scoring, C.J. Sapong was once again the Union's for not scoring. He has now gone nine straight games without a goal, and has just two in 16 league games this year. Sapong's most notable miss in this game came in the 12th minute, when he failed to corral an easy pass played to him in the 18-yard box.