LAFC-Galaxy’s newest El Tráfico brings well-known heat
LOS ANGELES – How does that always happen?
The best part about rivalries is the atmosphere they create, but sometimes the quality doesn’t live up to the bill. El Tráfico between LAFC and Los Angeles Galaxy has absolutely no problem with that. It actually exceeds expectations every time. Whether in Downtown L.A. or down in Carson. It also doesn’t matter which stars are on the field or not.
It is fitting that in a city where Hollywood scripts direct the show, the twists and turns of it Clásico Angelino play in a dramatic way.
Saturday at the Banc of California Stadium was the latest installment of the mayhem. The teams exchanged blows until a Galaxy goal in the 86th minute secured the 3-3 draw, which undoubtedly felt like a defeat for the LAFC.
It was an absolute treat for soccer fans who delivered on the main stage at MLS Rivalry Week. Even without injured stars Carlos Vela and Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, four of the six goals were scored by players who made their debut in the rivalry.
“It was incredible,” said Galaxy striker Dejan Joveljić, who finished with a brace. “I want to say that our fans have been amazing. I would also like to say that our opponents’ fans were good too, but the atmosphere was fantastic. I really enjoyed it.”
It is impossible not to do it. The moments, both good and bad, that surround this rivalry are endless. From the ghosts of Zlatan Ibrahimovic to Andre Horta’s unwise back pass to the 6-2 win at the MLS is Back Tournament or the infamous 5-3 playoff matchup.
Something wild always seems to go under. LAFC’s Brian Rodríguez caused the euphoria this round when time seemed to slow down as he dribbled past three defenders to send the Banc of California Stadium into sheer hysteria with a Goal of the Year contestant.
“A guy can’t pierce us like we’re kegel in our box,” said Galaxy head coach Greg Vanney. “That just can’t happen. We’ll all see this video on highlight reels for the next 20 years and that’s not a position neither of us wants to be in. “
Joveljić equalized six minutes later. Two minutes later, Rodríguez gave Black & Gold the lead again.
While some rivalry games are a bit more conservative because of their size, these games move at a video game pace. For example, if you’re trying to see how much you can get in FIFA, the defense is doomed. And for some, they feed on the bright lights.
“These are the games I always wanted to play,” said Galaxy defender Julian Araujo. “That’s why we play football. It was a great atmosphere, our fans were with us for the 90 minutes. “
Because of the two duels with the LAFC this season, the 20-year-old was the best player on the field for 180 minutes. Not only has his physicality improved, but his offensive performance – he played a role in all three Galaxy goals on Saturday – was crucial.
It’s the kind of booty and confidence that Zlatan brought into the fight, which clearly had a lasting impact on some members of that team.
“We’ve had too many difficult moments in so many of these games,” said LAFC head coach Bob Bradley. “Moments in which we played well and managed to let go of something.
“Still, sometimes it’s up to us because I think we have been pretty good at a lot of these games when it comes to moving things forward and creating opportunities.”
The good was not enough for the LAFC, as the Galaxy have won five times, drawn four and lost only three times in 12 games. But the action was just spectacular, scoring 56 goals in 12 games.
So we can continue to debate whether the Seattle Sounders / Portland Timbers rivalry remains the best in MLS, or how much you dislike the nickname “El Tráfico”. It is all reasonable.
One thing is certain: whenever these enemies clash in Los Angeles, the madness will leave you wanting more.
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