LOS ANGELES — Entering Tuesday night’s matchup, the 19th rendition of El Tráfico between the LA Galaxy and LAFC, the tale of the tape could not be any more different between the two clubs involved.
LAFC are in first place in the MLS Western Conference and in the final of the Concacaf Champion’s League on top of competing in the US Open Cup. Meanwhile the Galaxy currently sit in last place in the MLS and about 72 hours prior to meeting their rivals they lost to D.C. United, 3-0.
On Tuesday, the Galaxy eliminated their cross-town rivals behind two goals that came 3 minutes apart from each other in the second half to secure a 2-0 victory and a spot in the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open Cup.
“This is a hard place to play, they don’t lose many games here.” LA Galaxy Head Coach Greg Vanney said following the victory. “It doesn’t matter who is playing, these types of games are always difficult and I’m proud of our guys.”
Jonathan Klinsmann earned a clean sheet after making up for mistakes from the the Galaxy’s backline throughout the game, including an incredible double-save in the closing minutes of the first half.
Despite the team’s scoring struggles in 2023, the Galaxy would come out of the break with its foot on the gas.
No stranger to scoring in El Tráfico, Tyler Boyd opened up the scoring for the Galaxy after entering as a sub to start the second half with a crafty finish off his left foot in the 49th.
Three minutes later Riqui Puig received the ball near midfield and dissected LAFC’s defense to get one past LAFC veteran goalkeeper Eldin Jakupovic in a great display of finesse to extend the Galaxy’s lead in the 52nd.
LAFC would continue to press on offense but just couldn’t get one past Klinsmann after 90 minutes.
Balancing playing in three different competitions, LAFC head coach Steve Cherundolo rolled out a lineup with seven changes, mostly compiled of reserve players compared to the starting XI that he rolled out in their last game of MLS play against San Jose last weekend.
“There are a lot of factiors that play into decisions we have. We have a very congested congested schedule, its unprecedented,” Cherundolo said. “Unfortunately for us this game came very close to a very important couple of games.”
Despite the loss, Cherundolo was optimistic about the opportunity the younger members of the team had, playing against most of the normal Galaxy starters. “They had a spirited, professional, disciplined performance,” Cherundolo said.
Next, the LA Galaxy will move on to the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open Cup where they will face in the winner of tomorrow’s Colorado Rapids and Real Salt Lake game. LAFC will head to Mexico to meet Liga MX’s Club León in the first leg of the Concacaf Champions League Final on May 31.