Galaxy still dominate at home against LAFC in El Trafico
CARSON, California – If you really want to understand the madness of the El Tráfico matchups between the Los Angeles Galaxy and LAFC, Saturday is the place for you.
An earthquake struck southern California during stoppage time of the galaxy’s 2-1 victory, but the coaches and players on the field didn’t even feel it. The intensity on the field outweighed the short waves at the moment. On the other hand, Dignity Health Sports Park was trembling minutes earlier when Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez sent a ball Pull your way through the area that found Jonathan dos Santos’ feet and land in the back of the net for the eventual winner.
The captain dos Santos tore his shirt off as he sprinted to the stands to celebrate with part of the 7,193 limited capacity fans. The last time he celebrated a goal with so much emotion was after scoring Mexico’s winners in the 2019 Gold Cup final against the USA.
“The atmosphere was incredible,” said dos Santos of the first of three games between the rivals this season. “To experience it and then to score is priceless. I will remember this game all my life. “
His goal is added to the long culmination of this rivalry which has scored 50 goals in just 11 encounters. And while Saturday’s game didn’t include marquee stars Carlos Vela or former Galaxy striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, whose twittering and scoring helped define the game in its infancy, it served as a reminder: LAFC has never won at Carson.
“It’s difficult to get here and we know what kind of game we’re getting into,” said LAFC defender Tristan Blackmon. “A lot of us have played these games before and we need to recognize the type of game it will be and really rise as leaders.”
Since that rivalry began, driving the 110 freeway has been a nightmare for the Black and Gold. Not only have you never won a street game against the galaxy, but you’ve only managed one draw in five games. At first it was Zlatan’s exploits that did most of the damage, and now Chicharito is starting with a goal helping with his first crack at LAFC
Despite the most important El Tráfico win to date, LAFC still doesn’t feel they have a mental advantage in the rivalry. Saturday’s game is a group of coach Bob Bradley that is expected to win. Her core tactic resulted in 61% possession and relentlessly high press. In one case, they found a way to connect the dots, which resulted in one Picture-perfect equalizer Courtesy of reigning Golden Boot winner Diego Rossi.
“I thought at 1-1 we really had to take control and get it done and we just couldn’t find a way to do that,” said Bradley.
The hosts stayed strong behind goalkeeper Johnathan Bond’s game, throwing themselves at a defensive mistake to regain boastful rights. It’s not necessarily that the Galaxy are the better team, but they show a different kind of resilience when they go up against LAFC.
New coach Greg Vanney and the culture he restored in just a few months have great confidence in the club and Saturday’s win will further strengthen him.
“We’re trying to establish a style,” said Bond, who was arguably the best off-season acquisition for Galaxy. “We are a new team trying to gel. But in this learning process that we are in right now and that will likely take some time to come, we will get results.”
And that’s maybe the scariest part for LAFC.
“I think we played with a lot of heart and that’s how you win these games,” said dos Santos. “Very happy to take the win and to show that the galaxy is still here.”
He ended his media conference after the game with a smile, a wink and a dose of truth. At least until LAFC does something about it.
“Gracias, LA is ours.”
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