In part two of this season’s edition of El Trafico, Los Angeles Football Club and the LA Galaxy played to a thrilling 3-3 tie Sunday night. Despite coming back from a two-goal deficit, LAFC remains winless against its crosstown rival all-time.
Emotions were high from the first whistle. The Galaxy committed 14 fouls to LAFC’s three and were shown a total of five yellow cards while LAFC did not earn a single one.
Over the short history of the rivalry, LAFC have dropped two games when scoring first, a factor that usually plays to their advantage against every other team. This time, the Galaxy struck first when Cristian Pavon found none other than Zlatan Ibrahimovic on a run across the box. With only goalkeeper Tyler Miller to beat, Ibrahimovic calmly slotted his shot inside the near post.
LAFC tied the game ten minutes later. Steven Beitashour lobbed a cross towards the far post. Diego Rossi headed it back across the goal and out of reach of the keeper for Latif Blessing to head home.
But it would only be another two minutes before the Galaxy came back with two more goals. In the 15th minute, Favio Alvarez lofted a ball over the back line that landed at the feet of an again unmarked Ibrahimovic, who easily dribbled around the charging Tyler Miller and knocked in his fifth goal in two games against LAFC. And as soon as the game restarted, the Galaxy were in LAFC’s box again.
Pavon split two defenders then beat Zimmerman with a nice move inside before taking a shot. It was deflected by the helping Segura which fooled Miller and snuck inside the near post to put the Galaxy up 3-1 by the 16th minute.
Fortunately, LAFC cut the deficit in half right before halftime. Carlos Vela turned and had his shot from the top of the box blocked, but it squirted through the back line for Blessing to pick up and he quickly dribbled past the charging keeper to put away his second goal of the game.
The second half started with some heroics from Vela who tied it up with his 27th goal of the season in the 54th minute. Mark-Anthony Kaye tee’d up a shot for himself outside the box but then passed to Vela on the wing. With only Bingham to beat, Vela slotted home the goal inside the far post to make it 3-3.
Shortly after, Vela went to the sideline holding his hamstring. The trainers gave him a look before he returned to the field. By the 61st minute, however, he was replaced by newcomer Brian Rodriguez. Vela walked off the field visibly frustrated with the decision, throwing his captain’s armband down on the way. Joshua Perez also came on to replace Rossi in the 87th minute and Bob Bradley did not use his third sub.
LAFC thoroughly dominated the second half, finishing the game with a 65-35 possession and 27-10 shot advantage, but were unable to find the winning goal.
After four minutes of extra time, the final whistle blew. LAFC showed determination coming back from 3-1 but seemed pretty rattled in the first twenty minutes, which played right into the hands of the Galaxy.
LAFC will continue its pursuit for the Supporters’ Shield next Sunday when Minnesota United FC will come to town.
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