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Stalemate: LA Galaxy 1, LAFC 1

The season series with the Galaxy ends with another draw.

MLS: Los Angeles FC at Los Angeles Galaxy Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Football Club drew their second of three matches this season against the Los Angeles Galaxy, drawing 1-1 to their LA neighbors at the StubHub Center thanks to goals from, you guessed it, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Carlos Vela.

LAFC started the third edition of El Trafico a bit behind the 8-ball, as Danilo Silva started alongside Walker Zimmerman in defense in the place of Laurent Ciman. It was an interesting move as Ciman was not announced on the injury report, but was also not in the 18-man squad for Bob Bradley. ESPN’s Taylor Twellman reported during the match that Ciman may have some offers from elsewhere and was not deemed to be focused enough to play. Silva proceeded to pull up holding his leg 45 seconds into the match, and was substituted out in the 23rd minute for Dejan Jakovic.

In the 13th minute, LAFC nightmare Zlatan Ibrahimovic struck yet again. Ashley Cole took control of the ball on the center of the left side of the box, and laid it off to Ola Kamara coming down the left side. Kamara crossed to the other side of the box to a waiting Ibrahimovic, who brought the ball down despite having both Jordan Harvey and Walker Zimmerman in front of him. Zlatan then took a quick touch to put the ball past Tyler Miller, and although Silva tried to clear the ball off the line, it had just barely floated past the line to put the Galaxy ahead. The play went to video review, and VAR confirmed the goal.

Six minutes later, Ibrahimovic almost doubled the Galaxy’s lead. The star striker got the ball a few yards outside of the box, and Zimmerman did not close him down. Ibra only needed about half a yard of space, though, and rifled a shot on goal. Thankfully for LAFC, the ball went off the post and went out of bounds.

While both teams had a couple chances in the remainder of the first half, and LAFC had the majority of possession, neither team was able to put another goal in the back of the net. LAFC did have momentum heading into the halftime break, but without being able to capitalize on their attacking chances, including one ball into the box to a streaking Christian Ramirez, who was just over six yards out from goal.

The Black and Gold drew level in the early second half in the 50th minute, when Diego Rossi found Carlos Vela in the left side of the box. Vela saw that Perry Kitchen was going to ground, and crossed the ball over to his other side. Kitchen took out Vela in the box, and LAFC had a chance to equalize on the ensuing penalty. Vela took full advantage of the chance and got LAFC back on track with a cool and collected penalty.

About ten minutes later, LAFC had a golden chance to take the lead, but to no avail. Eduard Atuesta found Benny Feilhaber slipping behind the Galaxy defense, and Feilhaber was one-on-one with David Bingham. Bingham came out to meet the midfielder around the penalty spot, but Feilhaber tried to move it around the keeper, only for Bingham to get a hand on it. The deflected ball bounced away from the feet of Feilhaber, and the Galaxy dodged danger and stayed level.

LAFC had two more decent chances to put themselves ahead, but could not capitalize. One came when Lee Nguyen kept control of the ball around the 70th minute and found Latif Blessing at the top of the box, who made some room for himself and shot just over the near post. The other came in added time, when Andre Horta found Rossi moving behind his man in a give-and-go. Rossi created enough space for himself to cross the ball right in front of goal, but none of Blessing, Jordan Harvey, or Jakovic could get to it as it went right across Bingham.

Although LAFC had periods where they seemed to dominate possession and get more dangerous chances, the whistle blew before LAFC could put one more goal in the back of the net, concluding the third edition this season of the newest derby in Major League Soccer. LAFC come back home with a draw, putting them in second place in the West, just three points behind FC Dallas. The Galaxy, meanwhile, remain in fifth place, just above Portland and tied with Real Salt Lake in the crowded Western Conference. LAFC will hit the road again this week, with a matchup against Toronto FC in Toronto on Saturday.

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