Just like in tonight’s Paradise City tifo, fans of El Tráfico are getting accustomed to this feeling of soccer paradise. In the fifth edition of El Tráfico, LAFC and LA Galaxy drew each other to a 3-3 stalemate. Against a backdrop of fires in the distance, it seemed fitting that the match itself was heated and packed with firepower.
We all have met the one person who knows, for better or for worse, how to press our buttons. When it comes to LAFC and LA Galaxy, because they know how to get under each other’s skin, regardless who wins (usually it’s the Galaxy) fans and Los Angeles win just about every time they face each other, and tonight was no different.
In front of a sellout crowd, the Black & Gold (19-3-5) took on their most famous rivals, LA Galaxy (13-11-3), in their beloved fortress, Banc of California Stadium, and the home side retained their coveted first place standing and undefeated at home streak, now at 13. But the Galaxy definitely put some of that well-known firepower of LAFC to the test. In spite of a whopping 27 shots on goal, only 10 were on target. That percentage time and time again remains a nagging flaw for a team looking to take home the Supporters Shield and MLS Cup – they’re aiming high but are they losing their cool in the box?
Both teams had a player score a brace – Galaxy’s Lion and LAFC’s Blessing. If the first half could be said to belong mostly to LA Galaxy, who opened the scoring in the 2nd minute with a Zlatan Ibrahimovic appetizer, LAFC served the majority of the main course. Latif Blessing headed in a ball from Diego Rossi in the 12th minute. Ibrahimovic added his second after a set up by Efrain Alvarez in the 15th and seconds later Cristian Pavón struck for the Galaxy’s third. But, that was just the wild starter course. Right before the half, Blessing sauntered around Galaxy’s David Bingham with a deflection from a defender, putting LAFC back on the scoreboard with a fighting chance heading into halftime. It was Blessing’s sixth goal of the season.
The second half belonged to LAFC and it’s a wonder they couldn’t grab two more goals given all the opportunities. But, they did get one. In the 53rd minute, Carlos Vela’s anointed left foot, slotted in a goal off an assist from Mark-Anthony Kaye, marking his 27th goal of the season and final goal of the match. However, even the coolest of heads was fired up for tonight. After sustaining a hamstring injury (a tweak), Vela was subbed off in the 61st minute, and in one of his rarer moments of passion, he visibly disagreed with the decision, throwing his armband to the ground.
This rivalry is heating up by the moment. If there is a soccer god, there will be one more meeting of the LA teams in the playoffs this year. There is one question that remains on the tips of every LAFC fan’s lips, and based on Mark Anthony Kaye’s comment in the days leading up to the latest edition of, some players are thinking it too.
“We want to beat everyone. Obviously we want to beat the Galaxy. They’re trying to hold on to the last bit of what they’ve got in L.A. So these games are a lot of them because they already feel like they’ve been kicked out of a city that they never played in. Yeah, we want to beat them. But at the end of the day if we’re holding the trophy and they’re not, we beat them”.
If a team wins the MLS Cup without beating their top rival, did they beat their rival? No. But yes. After all, it’s just like the song says “you know it’s all a gamble when it’s just a game.”
The only thing you can count on in this derby, as long as Zlatan is in it, is there’s bound to be something like this…
— LA Galaxy (@LAGalaxy) August 26, 2019