El Trafico stands as one of Major League Soccer’s most exciting matches, and Saturday’s edition lived up to the high expectations.
The LA Galaxy triumphed 2-1 over LAFC at Dignity Health Sport Park as goals from Chicharito, Chicho Arango and Sega Coulibaly framed the game. But the 100+ minutes of play saw more action than reflected in the final scoreline.
Beyond the exhilarating three goals, 11 yellow cards were shown, two strikes were ruled out and a 98th goal by LAFC almost sent the crowd into a frenzy before being overturned.
“Electric, man. These games are electric. These games are so high intensity; the last 15 minutes I was dead. Dead, man,” exclaimed Galaxy full-back Raheem Edwards.
“And there's always drama. Whether you want it or not, there's always going to be drama. It’s just the type of game this game brings…you always have to be ready, you always have to have full commitment.”
The Galaxy extended their El Trafico winning streak at home to seven matches, but the team cannot deny LAFC’s dominance in the second half. Chicho Arango pulled one back for the visiting side in the 79th minute to extend their control over the home side, but ultimately the Galaxy’s defending earned them the three points.
“Yeah, we know we cannot take out how the game ended. But we deserved the win, we get the three points. I want that to be the narrative,” said Chicharito postgame.
“I don't want to take out the credit of this win because it was a VAR decision. He was offside, they decided. So we'll take the three points, LA Galaxy deserve that. We could have played way better. We could have been more ruthless. The 'could have' is always going to be there, but the result was that we get the three points. “Of course. It’s a derby. We're fighting for the pride of the city. And we got it.”
Galaxy goalkeeper Jonathan Bond echoed Chicharito’s excitement, adding the team’s victory solidifies their 2022 efforts.
“We definitely brought fight and spirit, and that's the main thing you need to bring in these games. the emotion, the energy from the stands definitely transposed onto the pitch,” he said.
“It wasn't perfect, and we can definitely be better quality-wise. I honestly feel like the first six games now, we've been good. I think we've been defensively solid. We've had a good shape. We've been good in possession. We've given up some goals on set pieces, which just killed us in some games, but if we can tidy a few things up, we're pretty solid. And we're way ahead of where we were at this point last season.”
LA Galaxy now sit in second place on the Western Conference table, one point behind LAFC at 12. The winners also ended their arch-rival’s unbeaten streak.
Greg Vanney’s side returns to action on Saturday when visiting the Chicago Fire at Soldier Field.