Los Angeles FC-Galaxy Preview
Los Angeles FC head coach Bob Bradley expects the latest edition of El Trafico will be "different" following the LA Galaxy's hire of Greg Vanney.
The LA derby has been the flagship match in MLS since LAFC entered the league, producing a number of memorable, high-scoring encounters. The sides will meet again on Saturday at Dignity Health Sports Park.
"The starting point in all these games is making sure everybody understands that the intensity level in derbies is very high," Bradley said.
But Bradley sees this derby panning out slightly differently to the chaos of previous Traficos.
"There have certainly been games where the game's opened up," he added. "I believe this game will be interesting and maybe a little different because I think Greg's ideas are different than some of the managers they've had before. It's different when Chicharito is your (number) nine versus when Zlatan (Ibrahimovic) is your nine.
"But what doesn't change is how much it means to the fans and how the intensity level will be very, very high."
The involvement of Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez also increases the Mexican interest in the rivalry, with Jonathan dos Santos already starring for the Galaxy and LAFC's Carlos Vela among the league's leading players.
"I think it's another great opportunity for two teams with two fantastic players who come from Mexico, and Jona as well, to compete in a rivalry for Los Angeles," Vanney said. "Those are definitely underlying or could be prominent headlines."
LA Galaxy – Jonathan dos Santos
The focus will be on Hernandez, but the Galaxy depend heavily on Dos Santos. The midfielder was one of the few players to deliver last time out against Seattle, enjoying 99 touches, creating two chances and winning possession 12 times, with four interceptions. The Galaxy need a repeat performance and for Dos Santos' team-mates to step up.
Los Angeles FC – Carlos Vela
The Mexican fans will hope Vela is fit to join Hernandez and Dos Santos on the pitch. He is potentially a decisive factor in this match but has been out with a muscle injury. "Carlos' situation will still be looked at and we'll make a decision," Bradley said.
- The four meetings between LA Galaxy and Los Angeles FC in 2020 were split, with each team winning twice. There was a clean sheet in each of the past three meetings, (two for the Galaxy, one for LAFC) after neither team shut out the other in the first seven Traficos.
- The Galaxy have conceded seven goals in their first three games this season, including a 3-0 defeat to Seattle last Sunday. It is the fourth time the Galaxy have shipped seven goals in the first three matches of a season (also in 1997, 2008 and 2012); they have never conceded more.
- LAFC are not off to their usual high-scoring start this season, finding the net just four times in their first three matches. LAFC had scored at least seven goals at this stage in each of their first three MLS seasons.
- Hernandez attempted just one shot in the Galaxy's loss to Seattle on Sunday, the sixth time in 10 MLS starts he has taken fewer than two shots (60 per cent). He attempted fewer than two shots in just 36.7 per cent (50 of 136) of his starts in Europe's 'top five' leagues.
- Including their playoff meeting, Vela has scored 10 goals against the Galaxy in his career, more than any other player against any single opponent since LAFC joined MLS in 2018.
Updated May 7, 2021