The MLS is Back Tournament of El Trafico between LAFC and LA Galaxy was supposed to be a battle for the top of the table, not a match to avoid the bottom. But that’s where we are after LAFC rallied to draw Houston 3-3 and Galaxy lost to Portland 2-1 in the group openers.
The two Los Angeles teams face each other Saturday, and if there’s a losing side, that team is all but eliminated from advancing to the knockout round in Orlando.
There have been six Los Angeles Derby’s or El Trafico’s since LAFC joined MLS in 2018, and five of those have been regular-season games. Three contests have resulted in draws while LAFC got their lone win in the playoffs last season with two goals from MLS MVP Carlos Vela. Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored twice as the Galaxy rallied from a 3-0 deficit to win 4-3 in 2018.
LAFC Outlook: Press Forward
In the opening game against Houston Dynamo, LAFC struggled early and finished strong in a 3-3 draw. Down 3-1 after 60 minutes, Diego Rossi and Brian Rodriguez scored in a six-minute span to earn the draw. Bradley Wright-Phillips had LAFC’s first goal in the 19th minute after Houston opened the scoring.
Vela is not in Orlando after opting out of the tournament, and he led LAFC with 34 goals last season and two this year. Without their captain in the tournament, LAFC is looking for other offense, but they have managed to score three goals in two of their three games this season.
Eddie Segura scored the crucial game-tying goal in a 3-3 draw against Philadelphia Union back in March.
LA Galaxy Outlook: Turn Things Around
The opening game was one of frustration for LA Galaxy as they had two second-half goals waved off for offsides and saw Chicharito’s first-half penalty saved. While their new Mexican National Team signee did score his first-ever MLS goal in the 88th minute, it was too little too late as Portland won 2-1.
The result of both Group F games leaves Galaxy in last place heading into this rivalry match.
The Galaxy got off to a slow start pre-COVID as well with a 1-1 draw against Houston and a 1-0 home loss to Vancouver. In three full games, the five-time champs have scored just two goals in 2020 despite adding Chicharito to the attack in the offseason.
LAFC/LA Galaxy Betting Lines
- LAFC -140 to win
- LA Galaxy +311 to win
- Draw +297
- Over/Under 3 goals (O -128, U -103)
There is no love lost between these teams, even with Vela skipping the tournament and Ibrahimovic back in Italy with AC Milan. The rivalry has been heated from the start, both on and off the pitch, and LAFC will relish the chance to send the Galaxy to the bottom of the table while also putting themselves in position to make it to the knockout round.
Despite Vela not being with the team, LAFC has too much firepower for their El Trafico rivals.
FREE PICK: LAFC to win (-140)