Where: Banc of California Stadium, Los Angeles, California
When: Sunday, August 25, 7:30 pm PT
How to Watch: FS1, Fox Deportes in the United States.
Los Angeles Football Club, fresh off their 4-0 win over their California rival San Jose Earthquakes, now move on to their second match of MLS’s Heineken Rivalry Week, against none other than the Los Angeles Galaxy. LAFC are riding a five-match winning streak, ever since their loss in mid-July against the Galaxy. The Galaxy, meanwhile, are coming off a mid-week Leagues Cup loss to Cruz Azul, and drew at home to the Seattle Sounders on Saturday, having won one, drawn one, and lost three since their win in the last edition of El Trafico.
As was the case in the last edition of the battle for Los Angeles, this is a clash at the top of the Western Conference. LAFC sit atop the conference with 61 points, 20 points ahead of the third-placed Galaxy. LAFC’s goal difference continues to be astounding, at +46. They have already clinched a playoff spot and are chipping away at the Red Bulls’ 71-point total that set an MLS record last season. Carlos Vela has already broken Sebastian Giovinco’s 2015 record of combined goals and assists, (38 was the record and Vela has 40) and is chipping away at Josef Martinez’ record of 31 goals in a season (Vela has 26).
LAFC, having returned home to The Banc of California Stadium for their match against the Quakes, added to their impressive home tally. They have won 11 matches at home and drawn two in MLS play. The Galaxy have, meanwhile, four wins, a draw, and seven losses on the road.
When you talk history between the two Los Angeles teams, even in two seasons, there is certainly no shortage of material. Last season included the MLS debut of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, featuring *that* goal with nearly his first touch on the ball in the league from almost the half-way line. Ibrahimovic then banged home a header in added time, leading to the Galaxy winning 4-3 and completing a comeback from 3-0 down. The second edition of the rivalry started with LAFC taking a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes, but the Galaxy struck back (again), with goals from Romain Alessandrini and Ola Kamara both occurring after the 80th minute to split the points at The Banc. The third matchup, in Carson for the second time, was the one where the Galaxy started with the lead, thanks to Zlatan Ibrahimovic, but Carlos Vela’s penalty goal secured another sharing of the points. This season’s game, in mid-July, was especially brutal for LAFC, as Zlatan, just days after taking shots at Carlos Vela AND saying that he is a Ferrari among Fiats in MLS, banged in a hat-trick at home on the national stage, giving the Galaxy another excruciating win over LAFC. However, LAFC are the in-form team, and the better team in nearly every non-Zlatan related category, and welcome their rivals to their fortress, with records in their sights.
Prediction: LAFC 3, Galaxy 2. These matchups are always high-intensity, and this will be no different. No doubt Carlos Vela and Zlatan Ibrahimovic will show out yet again, and this could very well be the time that LAFC finally get a win over their cross-town rivals.
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