LA Galaxy and LAFC to open 2023 MLS season with Rose Bowl El Trafico clash

The iconic Rose Bowl stadium hosted the 1994 World Cup final.
The iconic Rose Bowl stadium hosted the 1994 World Cup final. / Mike Powell/GettyImages

El Trafico rivals LA Galaxy and LAFC have announced they'll open their 2023 MLS seasons with a clash at the Rose Bowl Stadium on February 23.

With a capacity of over 90,000, the Rose Bowl has a long history in US soccer after hosting the 1994 World Cup final between Brazil and Italy and serving as the Galaxy's home between 1996 and 2002.

The Galaxy currently play at their Dignity Health Sports Park Stadium but will be the designated home team for the match against the Black and Gold, against who they've formed a fierce rivalry in recent years.

"The LA Galaxy are excited to write a new chapter in the storied soccer legacy of Los Angeles as we kick off our 2023 campaign against our intercity rival LAFC at the iconic Rose Bowl Stadium," LA Galaxy president Chris Klein said.

"We have a great history at the most legendary sports venue in the United States and know this will be a great spectacle for fans as we place one of the most exciting new rivalries in the world on LA's biggest stage."

The two LA sides have faced off 16 times across all competitions so far, with the Galaxy winning seven times to LAFC's four, alongside five draws. The Galaxy also lead 36-34 when it comes to goals, but have finished above LAFC in the Western Conference just once - last season, although both sides failed to make the MLS Cup Playoffs.

"This rivalry has, from day one, delivered an energy and electricity that together with incredible moments and memories on the pitch, has established it among the most engaging not only in Los Angeles but across MLS," LAFC co-president and chief business officer Larry Freedman said.

"It is only fitting that we are now taking it to one of the most iconic venues in all of sports."

LAFC currently sit top of the Western Conference, locked on 64 points with the Philadelphia Union in the Supporters' Shield race. The Galaxy, meanwhile, are fifth and on the verge of confirming their return to the Playoffs.

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