The Major League Soccer campaign this year has certainly been an entertaining one, with drama and goals galore from the East to the West and beyond.
One storyline, however, which has been running fairly consistently throughout the season is the rivalry between LAFC and LA Galaxy. The El Trafico derby is always feisty as you’d expect, but for pretty much the entire year, LAFC have been leading the way at the top of the Western Conference – despite never having beaten Galaxy in the past.
As reported by ESPN and Goal, that all came to an end last night as Los Angeles FC defeated rivals LA Galaxy for the first time, winning by a 5-3 scoreline to book their place in the Western Conference Finals.
Signed, sealed, delivered
Goals were the theme of the day in the City of Angels as you’d probably expect, and it was that man Carlos Vela who opened LAFC’s account for the evening just after the 15 minute mark. Vela himself got the second to put them in a relatively comfortable position, only for Cristian Pavon to pull one back within seconds, completely swinging the momentum of the game in the visitors’ direction.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic levelled things up to really add an extra spice to proceedings, but a quickfire double from the home side courtesy of Diego Rossi and Adama Diomande seemingly put them in a commanding position.
The drama wasn’t done there, however, with Rolf Feltscher pulling one back to leave the scores finely poised at 4-3. It seemed like there could potentially be a final sting in the tail but in the end, Diomande put the exclamation mark on the win in the 80th minute, with the score remaining at 5-3.
“More is written about it than the time that we spend talking about it,” said LAFC coach Bradley when discussing their poor record against LA Galaxy. “But obviously somewhere along the line, you just need to do it. We all knew it was our time. It was that simple. When they beat Minnesota [to secure this meeting], everybody said, ‘Great.’ It had to be the Galaxy.”
Ending the debate
“After all the work we did, this is a big moment,” Vela said. “We work for that kind of game. We want to be the best team with the best season in history. To hit that target, that’s maximum inspiration.”
In the immediate aftermath of the game, Zlatan Ibrahimovic was questioned about whether or not he would remain with LA Galaxy for next season or favour a return to European football, which has been heavily rumoured for quite some time now.
“It’s not about money,” said Ibrahimovic.
“I have another two months [on my contract]. We’ll see what happens.
“[If I stay], then MLS is good, because the whole world will watch it. If I don’t stay, nobody will remember what MLS is.”
LAFC’s attention will now turn towards Seattle Sounders who they will play next week for the right to compete in the MLS Cup Final. In the East, Toronto will square off against reigning champions Atlanta United in the Eastern Conference Finals.