LAFC cruised past cross-City rivals Los Angeles Galaxy in Saturday’s clash at the MLS is Back Tournament as they crushed their bitterest rivals 6-2 in Group F.
Diego Rossi scored four goals; Bradley Wright-Phillips got on the score-sheet and Mohamed El-Munir also netted in their victory. Galaxy took the lead twice in the first half, but their hopes were extinguished in the second half as LAFC ran riot. This was made all the more impressive without two of their key players - Javier Hernandez picked up an injury in training this week, and Carlos Vela previously withdrew from the tournament due to his wife’s pregnancy.
Story of the match
It was a nightmare start for LAFC as they conceded within 5 minutes. Sebastian Lleget's cut back was put into his own net by Latif Blessing to give the Galaxy an early lead. However, their advantage lasted less than ten minutes as Diego Rossi levelled from the penalty spot. Perry Kitchen bundled Wright-Phillips to the ground and the referee had no hesitation in awarding LAFC the spot kick.
On 31 minutes, the Galaxy went ahead again - this time through a penalty of their own. Pablo Sisniega saved Cristian Pavon’s first attempt, but rushed off his line prematurely, giving Pavon another try that he buried into the left-hand corner. On the stroke of half time, however, it was all tied up again at 2-2. Diego Rossi grabbed his second after Wright Phillips' attempt had been saved.
Wright Phillips put LAFC ahead for the first time in the match ten minutes after the restart. He beat the offside trap before cutting inside and finding the far corner of the net. Rossi then put the game to bed with fifteen minutes to go, grabbing his hat-trick from close range after a breakaway. Four minutes later, it was 5-2. Substitute Mohamed El-Munir finished smartly from 25 yards out, taking full advantage of the Galaxy defenders standing off him to find the far corner. To add insult to injury, LAFC made it 6-2 in stoppage time. Rossi grabbed his fourth from a yard out with the Galaxy claiming for an offside call that never came.
Takeaways from the match
LAFC now have scored nine goals in two MLS is Back Tournament games, all without Carlos Vela. They were very impressive going forward last week against Houston Dynamo, but let soft goals in that led many to question the defence. Indeed, the reigning Supporters’ Shield champions have conceded 5 goals in two games, and it will be something Bob Bradley's side will need to fix if they are to stand any chance of progressing to the later stages of the tournament.
Despite the clear improvements they need to make, LAFC have now won back-to-back LA Derbies. With many dubbing it ‘El Tráfico’, an article appeared in the publication by The Athletic that seems to suggest many involved in the game - including Head Coach Bob Bradley - feel the name is inappropriate, and the "LA Derby" is much preferred. For LA Galaxy, however, things are not looking good. Bottom of the early Western Conference standings, they are one of five MLS teams yet to win in 2020, and with defending seen in this game, it is easy to see why.
Stand out players
Diego Rossi scored four goals to move into a tie with Toronto FC forward Ayo Akinola for the Golden Boot. Both players have five goals heading into Round 3, while Rossi also got a second assist on Bradley Wright-Phillips’ goal. That makes him the first MLS player to twice be involved in five goals in one game. In truth, LAFC's play saw them create a huge amount of chances - 19 shots in total, with 12 on target. When you compare that to the Galaxy's 6 total shots with 3 on target, it paints a promising picture for Bradley's side. Cristian Pavon looked good in flashes for the Galaxy, but the performance - especially second half - was very much below-par.
Up next for both
LAFC take on Portland Timbers on Thursday Jul 23rd, with the Galaxy playing later the same day against Houston Dynamo in the final round of Group F.
LAFC: Sisniega, Blackmon, Jakovic, Segura, Palacios, Blessing, Atuesta, Kaye, Rodriguez, Wright-Phillips, Rossi.
Substitutes: Vermeer, Ejimadu, Harvey, Silva, Najar,Ginella, Guido, Cifuentes, Duke, El-Munir, Musovski, Torres.
LA Galaxy: Bingham, Feltscher, Steres, Gonzalez, Insua, Kitchen, Corona, Araujo, Cuello, Lleget, Pavon.
Substitutes: Lopes, vom Steeg, DePuy, Traore, Kljestan, Alvarez, Wild, Dunbar, Zubak, Harvey.