Where: StubHub Center, Carson CA
When: Saturday, March 31st, 12:00 pm PT
How to Watch: FOX and FOX Deportes
This rivalry has a lot of parallels with the one between the New York Red Bulls and New York City FC: A second team in a big city, coming up against a club that has been around since the beginning. The existing team already has an established rivalry in MLS (the Red Bulls and D.C. United, and the Galaxy and the San Jose Earthquakes). Also, the incumbent team has taken the big city’s name, but doesn’t actually play in that city, as the Red Bulls play in New Jersey, and the Galaxy play in Carson.
Obviously LAFC are hoping the rivalry does not start out like it did for NYCFC, who were dominated by the Red Bulls for the first couple years.
LAFC have gotten off to a flier of a start, recording road wins against two teams seen as contenders in the Western Conference.
Then the Galaxy did the most Galaxy thing of all time, by signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic the week before their first matchup with LAFC, stealing back the headlines from the new boys.
Following that, LAFC announced the signing of Andre Horta, a young Designated Player from Portugal who from all accounts is a very good player, but he does not have the name recognition that Zlatan does (but really, few players do). And while Ibrahimovic is eligible for the game on Saturday, Horta is still playing in Portugal and may have to wait until mid-July to play for his new team.
So how do things play out on the field?
LAFC have started very strong, but with byes and an international break they have not played in a few weeks.
Meanwhile the Galaxy have played three times this season, and have one win, one loss, and one draw. They played to a 0-0 draw last week against the Vancouver Whitecaps, with a squad of 17 that included three goalkeepers.
LAFC will most likely head into the game with their same starting lineup, while the Galaxy are expected to have the dos Santos brothers back from injury, but will still be missing their best player from last year, Romain Alessandrini.
Of course the big question is, will Zlatan play? Given that he just made a long flight into LA on Thursday night, and he is coming off a setback following his long-term knee injury, I think Zlatan will not start, but will make appearance, maybe gets 15 minutes or so of gametime for the Galaxy.
Prediction: I say this game goes to the Black-and-Gold, 2-1, with goals from Carlos Vela and Benny Feilhaber.
What do you think? Leave a comment below!