LAFC snapped their three-game losing streak in their rivalry clash on Sunday against the LA Galaxy, but there wasn’t much else to look back on fondly for the drive home, as the teams split the game 1-1 at Dignity Health Sports Park.
Mamadou Fall had LAFC’s goal to give the visitors the early lead, but yet again the advantage didn’t hold up, and both teams visibly fatigued as the 90 minutes wore on. There have been few stinkers in El Trafico to date, but this was one of the most lackluster meetings.
After a feeling out period for the first 10 minutes between the teams, that man, Fall, scored with a header off a corner kick by Eduard Atuesta in the 11th minute to give LAFC the early lead.
The goal is already the third in MLS for Fall, who remember is an 18-year-old central defender.
But as we know with this rivalry, that lead didn’t stand for long, as Samuel Grandsir tied it up for the Galaxy, taking Victor Vazquez’s throughball, eluding the defenders and LAFC goalkeeper Jamal Blackman, and scoring in the 19th minute.
Brian Rodriguez, Cristian Arango and Chicharito traded chances later in the first half, but the yellow cards started piling up on both sides. Raheem Edwards was fortunate in the 36th minute, when a foul that stopped Chicharito in his tracks while on a yellow card didn’t lead to a second yellow card for the LAFC man.
The teams went into in the halftime break tied 1-1, and after LAFC’s hot start, they faded in the first 45. But to be fair, the Galaxy didn’t look much better themselves after tying the match.
Bob Bradley made a double switch at the half, bringing on Diego Palacios for Edwards and Francisco Ginella for Danny Crisostomo, who was also on a yellow card.
Just after the hour mark, the Galaxy nearly took the lead as Nick DePuy had a goalbound header off a short corner kick routine, only for the ball to clang off the crossbar and save LAFC’s blushes.
But Ginella had a shot immediately after on the other end, and that also went off the crossbar. In his case, his shot was parried by Galaxy GK Jonathan Bond to keep it out of the net.
Kim Moon-hwan then entered the game in the 63rd minute for Atuesta, who looked like he was playing with a knock for much of the night. Four minutes later, Danny Musovski replaced Brian Rodriguez, who had a quiet game this time around.
LAFC had a possible penalty shout in the 69th minute, with Arango and Bond contesting a ball in the box. A couple minutes later, there was another Galaxy shot off the woodwork, with Blackman nailed to the grass as he watched it barely miss the mark.
Sebastien Ibeagha was LAFC’s final substitute, entering in the 89th minute.
Neither team really played with much attacking intent, and while I think Ginella’s passing was an upgrade for LAFC in possession in the second half, the Galaxy had the closer looks and none of them hit paydirt. In that respect, LAFC are lucky they didn’t lose this game. Having said that, a draw was a fair result on balance, I think, as LAFC were also lucky they didn’t have a red card along the way.
But this was a must-win game, and LAFC took the lead again, and again they had to settle for a draw. That’s just not good enough. This team looks like it’s going to limp to the end of the regular season and miss the playoffs, which is truly awful given the title hopes coming into the season.
LAFC will get next week off for the international window, and then will host the San Jose Earthquakes on Oct. 16. Can they finally get on track and rally to finish the season? At this point, they need a win and then see what they can do. Hopefully they make use of the break to regroup and finish the season strong.
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