Photo Credit: LAFC @LAFC
(East Los Angeles, CA) May 11, 2021 [From The Editor’s Desk]: The first encounter of the regular MLS season between these two very popular franchises took place in the Carson, CA Dignity Health Sports Park, and much to the great delight of the L.A. Galaxy’s fans, who made an impressive showing with their faithful support and in-person attendance. Things are slowly but surely returning to normal. As we say, “poco a poco!”
Here’s the account of the match from our correspondent, Javier Perez, Student Intern @ Cal State Dominguez Hills University.
(Match Re-cap): The sun rose on a sunny Los Angeles Saturday as the City prepared for yet another battle for L.A. The Los Angeles Galaxy prepared their fortress at Dignity Health Sports Park to face off with their city rival, LAFC in the 11th installment of El Tráfico. The Galaxy, back home from a shocking (3-0) defeat against Seattle, were looking to learn from their defeat and claim their spot at the top of the standings. LAFC on the other hand, were striving hard to get back to their opening day winning rhythm after going through “back-to-back” ties against the Sounders and the Dynamo.
The anticipation was strong as fans awaited the destined clash between Mexican compatriots, and great friends Carlos Vela, and Javier “Chicharito” Hernández. With Chicharito’s strong start to the MLS season, bagging 6 goals in 4 games, Vela was looking to get on the scoresheet as well. Unfortunately, he was ruled out for this first El Tráfico due to a nagging quadricep injury that also saw him sit out against the Dynamo the week before.
LAG Coach, Greg Vanney, came out with the (4-2-3-1) formation he’s been keen on using since the start of the season. With Jonathan Bond in goal, Julian Araujo and Jorge Villalfaña occupying the fullback positions. Joining them were, Derrick Williams along with Daniel Steres occupying the center-back positions. Jonathan Dos Santos and Adam Saldaña played as center defensive midfielders as Samuel Grandsir, Ethan Zubak, and Sebastian Lletget were tasked to help lone-striker Chicharito up top.
Head Coach, Bob Bradley, suited LAFC with a classic (4-3-3) formation with Pablo Sisniega installed as goalkeeper. Tristan Blackmon and Diego Palacios played as fullbacks with Eddie Segura and Jesus Murillo as centre backs. Eduard Atuesta, Mark-AnthonyKaye, and Latif Blessing occupied the midfield as José Cifuentes, Diego Rossi, and Corey Baird occupied the attacking 3.
LAG and LAFC started the match with intensity as both teams looked to open the scoring early on. Sure enough, a tackle from Derrick Williams on his opponent Cifuentes sent the ball right back into the feet of Chicharito. He then squares it up and slots it to the far post past Sisniega at just the 11th minute of the match. The Galaxy was then forced to sit back for the rest of the half as LAFC attempted to equalize but they went into halftime up (1-0).
As the second half opened up, LAFC went on the front foot again, attacking relentlessly. Eventually, LAG caved in as Baird made a connection with Rossi inside the box. Now, at the 62nd minute, Rossi positioned it and then slotted it past Bond with the equalizer, (1-1). Vanney decided to take out Zubak and Grandsir for Cameron Dunbar and Sacha Kljestan. The Galaxy then upped the tempo. As the match came to its last 10 minutes, Dunbar collected a bad play from LAFC as he passed it to Chicharito. He then controls the ball in place before passing it back where Efrain Alvarez waits and as he runs for the diagonal, Jonathan Dos Santos screams at him to pass him the ball. This on-field teamwork resulted in Dos Santos firing it past Sisniega for the winner, (2-1).
LAFC left El Tráfico with questions, but no answers on their defense and midfield, as well as looking for their bread-winner, #9 Rossi. Although he scored a goal in the second half, the Black & Gold dominated the possession time with 61% but couldn’t capitalize in securing a tying second goal before the end of regulation . On the other hand, LAG Head Coach, Greg Vanney, has been sorting out the pieces to the puzzle and as the season goes on, the Galaxy seem to only be improving.
(Next Up): For the Black & Gold, (5 Pts/4 matches/1 win – 2 losses -1 Draw/10th place), it’ll be the Seattle Sounders FC, on Sunday, May 16th. Kick-off is set for 6:30 p.m PT and will be broadcast “Live” on TV on FS1, FOX Deportes and on Radio 1110 AM ESPN, ESPN App (Audio) and 980 AM “La Mera Mera.”
(Next Up): For the L.A. Galaxy, (9 Pts/4 matches/3 wins – 1 loss/3rd Place), they now await the arrival of the League’s expansion team, Austin FC, on Saturday, May 15th. Kick-off is set for 12:30 PM and will be broadcast on Univision, with additional coverage provided by TUDN and Twitter (English audio).