In spite of the ultimate score, the game was absolutely topsy-turvy, with the Galaxy largely dominating the first half before LAFC took over in the second half and pulled away with ease.
LAFC’s lineup was almost the same as their opener, except Pablo Sisniega replaced Kenneth Vermeer in goal, the appearance Sisniega’s first of the year.
The Galaxy got a quick lead, in just the 5th minute, when a buildup on the right flank ended up bouncing in goal past Sisniega, as Latif Blessing was judged to have had the critical touch on the play and was given an own goal.
But the lead didn’t last long, as Diego Rossi tied the game from the penalty spot in the 13th minute, after Bradley Wright-Phillips drew a kind call on a tussle with Perry Kitchen. Even with the poor start, LAFC were right back in the game.
The game turned again at the half-hour mark, as Dejan Jakovic fouled Joe Corona on the foot in LAFC’s box and a penalty was called. Sisniega saved Cristian Pavon’s first spot kick, but came off his line early, so the penalty was retaken, and Pavon scored it on the second opportunity to make it 2-1 to the Galaxy.
After that, LAFC looked like they were flagging for the rest of the first half, playing slower than they normally do and not linking up well. But Rossi came to the rescue in stoppage-time, scoring off a broken play and ricochet to send the teams into the halftime break even again, at 2-2.
Shortly after the restart, there was a big swing of momentum. First, Pavon scored in the 54th minute on a breakaway, but it was called back for offside in the buildup.
Then three minutes later, Bradley Wright-Phillips scored his second goal in as many games for LAFC to make it 3-2, the goal being the game-winner.
LAFC got an insurance tally in the 75th minute, as a counterattack sprung by substitute Jose Cifuentes was finished off by Rossi, who completed his hat trick with a tap-in.
Mohamed El-Munir hit another insurance goal, with a well-placed shot outside the box, in the 80th minute to make it 5-2. From there, LAFC peppered David Bingham the rest of the way but he was up to the challenge, until Rossi added his fourth goal of the night in stoppage time.
Again, I think the scoreline ultimately flatters LAFC a bit, as the game basically turned on the Pavon goal called back and then BWP’s strike. Before then, it was anyone’s game. But, you can’t take away LAFC’s overall 90 minutes here, going from 2-1 down to absolutely barraging the Galaxy with goals late to seal up the rivalry win. I imagine they will savor the win but also know there’s still much to work on to get to their best form at this tournament.
LAFC will wrap up group-stage play Thursday against the Portland Timbers. The Timbers have already booked their ticket to the knockouts, but I still expect a feisty and frankly ferocious battle between the teams. With four points in group play, LAFC’s spot in the knockout stage isn’t booked yet but they are on their way to qualifying if they can grab another result against the Timbers.
What do you think? Leave a comment below.