Los Angeles Football Club had to work for it, but they claimed victory in the 10th edition of their rivalry against the LA Galaxy all time on Sunday, with a 2-0 win over the 10-man visitors at Banc of California Stadium.
Danny Musovski scored his fifth goal of the season to win it, splitting the season series between the teams at two games apiece and LAFC moved into the top four in the Western Conference with the win, solidifying their playoff credentials with three games left to play this season.
Bob Bradley, in his 100th game coaching LAFC, had more players to work with for the game, with Diego Rossi, Brian Rodriguez and Jose Cifuentes returning to the lineup from international duty, and Carlos Vela, Tristan Blackmon and Latif Blessing all back in the squad, starting on the bench.
LAFC nearly opened the scoring in the 11th minute, with Diego Rossi’s one-timer off Jose Cifuentes’ sharp cross clanging off the crossbar.
Five minutes later, Cifuentes unleashed a shot from way out and it sailed just over the goal.
In the 22nd minute, Rossi drew a penalty on Giancarlo Gonzalez. Referee Kevin Stott gave Gonzalez a red card, then rescinded that as a yellow for “double jeopardy.” Then there was a VAR review, and Stott reversed everything, giving Gonzalez a red card and taking the penalty to a foul outside the box, because that’s where the contact occurred.
The teams went into the break with LAFC controlling play and the major statistical categories, unsurprisingly, but still no goals to give them the ultimate edge in the game.
Cifuentes had a header in the 54th minute that was saved off the line by Sacha Kljestan, before Eddie Segura had a shot that bounced off the bottom of the post and trickled away.
LAFC got the breakthrough in the 58th minute, with Danny Musovski latching onto a throughball from Rossi and chipping Jonathan Klinsmann. There was a lengthy VAR review after the goal because at the start of the play the ball looked like it went out of bounds at the other end of the field, but the goal stood.
LAFC brought on Vela and Bradley Wright-Phillips in the 70th minute, replacing Musovski and Rodriguez and seeking to ice the result while giving Vela some minutes to find his fitness.
It looked like Wright-Phillips got the job done in the 83rd minute, with a smooth strike from an angle that cushioned in off the post off Eduard Atuesta’s feed. But a VAR review ruled BWP was offside in the buildup.
But Vela did get the job done, with a beautiful chip in the box in stoppage time on his return to action, making it 2-0 and wrapping up the win.
It wasn’t the very best LAFC performance but it’s one they will gladly accept. The red card was fair, the offside on BWP’s goal was probably correct, and the non-call on Musovski’s goal was...perhaps kind to LAFC, to be honest. But LAFC were the better team throughout, the only one to show real attacking intent, and while they should have scored more and won comfortably, it didn’t happen. Still, it was a win over the rival and a clean sheet, and LAFC would take that 100 times out of 100.
LAFC will host the Houston Dynamo in their next match, on Wednesday. The teams played in the MLS is Back Tournament group stage, playing to a 3-3 draw in their opener of that competition back in June. Will there be a different result this time around? We’ll see what happens!
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