Galaxy defeats LAFC in front of record crowd

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
The Galaxy beat LAFC, 2-1, before an MLS record crowd of 82,110 at the Rose Bowl to extend their unbeaten streak to six games.

PASADENA, Calif. — In front of a record-breaking crowd on 4th of July, the latest edition of El Tráfico provided its own firework show on and off the field, while also providing a glimpse at how much soccer has grown in popularity in the States.

The Galaxy earned a 2-1 win over LAFC in the latest rendition of the Los Angeles Derby, in front of a crowd of 82,110 in attendance at the Rose Bowl, a new MLS standalone record.

For LA Galaxy head coach Greg Vanney, he couldn’t hide the emotions coming back to the first venue that his former club called home and he played in for six seasons.

“For me personally be back in the Rose Bowl to see it full to take a second and realize just how far he has come since we kick it off and it saves to where it is now. The level of the two teams the competition tonight the quality of players on the field and it was just an incredible venue, incredible atmosphere and wonderful game,” Vanney said following the victory. “I just remember all the moments and the things that happened here, the wins, the people and the memories, so those things kind of came back. It was surreal coming in,” he added.

An MLS record crowd of 82,110 turned out for the game between the LA Galaxy and the LAFC at the Rose Bowl. (Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)

Tyler Boyd, who scored a goal for the Galaxy in the each of the last two renditions of El Trafico, scored against LAFC once again, this time finishing a banger of a goal from outside of the box to put the Galaxy ahead 1-0 in the first half, putting on a show for some special fans in attendance.

“I like the big games but it just happens to come against LAFC every time so it’s a blessing,” Boyd said afterwards. “I dedicate that goal to obviously, the fans that traveled but also to my parents who traveled from New Zealand to be here.”

After a collision in the first half, Galaxy goalkeeper Jonathan Bond would be subbed off at halftime for Jonathan Klinsmann to finish the game.

In the second half, as expected in a derby, emotions would flare between both squads along with numerous cynical fouls but both teams would find a way to add onto to their goal tally.

Ilie Sanchez evened the score at 1-1 in the 57th minute after a well-placed cross by Timothy Tillman, who sent the corner kick and Sanchez was able to finish it at the near-post.

Riqui Puig would put the Galaxy back ahead for good after tapping in a perfectly-placed cross from Boyd to make the score 2-1 in the 73rd.

In the previous edition of El Tráfico during Open Cup play in April, Puig scored, then took off his jersey and proceeded to celebrate in front of the 3252 at BMO Stadium. When asked why he didn’t repeat his celebration this time around, he had the team’s best interest in mind.

“I really wanted to but if I got a yellow card today, I can’t play Saturday and I can’t miss any more games. The team needs me and I need the team so I couldn’t do it,” Puig said.

The victory extended the Galaxy’s undefeated streak to six games, but were finally able to earn three points after four consecutive draws. Vanney believes that this could be the turning point the team needed to turn the season around.

”There was a couple of wins that we felt like we should have got or deserved to get through that stretch and tonight we finished it.,” Vanney said, “I don’t know if you call this a neutral site or a home game or what it is but we haven’t played at home other than one game out of those five and so it’s it’s been a good stretch for us where the group has really shown resilience and kind of a foundation to continue to build off with this particular group of players.”

Next, the Galaxy will return to Dignity Health Sports Park Saturday, where they will play host to the Philadelphia Union while LAFC will make their way back to BMO Stadium to host San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday.