Tonight all sports-minded eyes in the L.A. area will be on the StubHub Center for the third game in the L.A. Derby between the LA Galaxy and the Los Angeles Football Club. Fans will see Vela face off again against Zlatan — the Zlatan Zone.
Derbies in soccer — football (futbol) — are crosstown rivalries, Freeway Faceoffs, Subway Series and this one in Los Angeles is the newest — El Trafico. It pits the new LAFC against the long established LA Galaxy. So far, after the first two meetings in this Derby, the LA Galaxy lead, having had a big comeback win in the first and then another comeback in the second to get the draw. That’s four for the Galaxy and one for LAFC. In terms of winning the local crown, all the Galaxy need to do is play to a draw, but LAFC needs a win just to end the season with a share of the crown.
In the overall Western Conference MLS standings, LAFC is five points ahead of the Galaxy, although both could make the playoffs if the table remains the same. But the Galaxy could make up ground on LAFC and Real Salt Lake with a win. A draw would do nothing for the Carson club in the standings.
A win for LAFC would put them ahead of Sporting Kansas City, who are tied in points, but ahead based on the season series between the two. So this is a pivotal match for both clubs.
FC Dallas leads the Western Conference right now and both teams could take over the lead with their remaining schedules. The Galaxy have played better with Zlatan Ibrahimovic, but they have dropped games to many Eastern Conference teams, plus they were just shut out by the Seattle Sounders 5-0 on the road. The Galaxy has either played to a draw or lost their last four matches.
In their last four matches LAFC has had two wins, one draw and a loss, their first at home. That makes them the better team so far this month, but tonight’s game will make a big difference in how fans view El Trafico.
If LAFC can jump out to an early lead as they did the first two matches — and then finish the game without giving up winning or tying goals — El Trafico will be well be on its way to becoming a premier rivalry in sports.
The game at the StubHub Center is sold out, as it was the first time these two teams met in March. For fans not heading to Carson, they can catch the game on ESPN channels. Game time is 7:30 p.m.
Below is Claudia Gestro’s report from the last match of the Derby. Subscribe to our YouTube channel for more of LAFC and more from L.A. sports teams.
Photos by Claudia Gestro
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