In the 14th edition of El Trafico, LAFC sought and delivered its first victory against their crosstown rival LA Galaxy since 2020 with a 3-2 win. As Kellyn Acosta put it, “[There was] a lot of relief, to finally get that monkey off our back.”
The ever-entertaining skirmish in front of a full stadium began with a tense first 16 minutes, full of fouls and tackles, till the 17th minute goal by Jose Cifuentes gave the home team a lead and broke the dam. As Cifu put it in post-game, “it opened the path for the rest.”
After an LAFC-dominated first half, where they effectively shut down the Galaxy’s midfield attack, the second half ensued with LA Galaxy trailing 0-1, until the 55th minute, when Samuel Grandsir found himself in a perfect position for a right-footed shot away from traffic off a Rayan Raveloson assist. In spite of a shaky first fifteen minutes where the Galaxy broke that midfield barrier, LAFC regained momentum with two goals that pulled them up to a comfortable lead. First, in the 70th minute, Jose Cifuentes netted a header off a cross from Carlos Vela to complete his brace, then in the 73rd minute, when Cristian Arango positioned a shot right outside the box to the bottom left of the net. But the resistance from the visitors was not done. In the 81st minute, fending LAFC’s defense off, Ravelson lept up above the LAFC defense and headed a ball from the center of the box, giving the Galaxy a fighting chance with second goal. However, in spite of the chippy play that continued for the rest of the half, LAFC came away safely with the three points and their first victory against LAGalaxy since 2020, improving their all-time record to 4 wins in 14 meetings. The vibe was both celebratory and a relief.
As far as LAFC’s Cherundulo is concerned, there is still room to grow for the team and its lead scorer tonight. “Cifu is getting closer to maximizing his potential… He’s a back-to-back midfielder whose first touch is incredible. But his weakness is defensive awareness. We’re working on that with him.”
And, while LAFC stay atop the Western Conference, they aren’t staying comfortable with it. “Every game has its own story.” – Cherundolo.