Maneuver and excitement were on the radar for a while, but anticipation was really at the forefront last weekend.
The focus was on this Saturday’s meeting with LAFC at Dignity Health Sports Park (7:30 pm) before the players took to the field, as the LA Galaxy’s 3-1 victory over the Portland Timbers in the final Week 5 match of the MLS. ET | FOX, FOX Deportes).
Come on, it’s L Traffico.
John Thorington, co – chairman of LAFC, told MLSsoccer.com, “I have to admit my bias here, but I think this is the biggest competition in the league.”
In the fifth year of this competition between the LA Galaxy and the LAFC, the game takes on a new angle: for the first time in MLS, friends and Mexican stars Carlos Vela and Javier “Ciccarito” Hernandez are fit to play against each other.
“In a game like this, you don’t have to encourage guys,” said Galaxy head coach Greg Vanney.
El Traffico is one of the most anticipated games on the MLS each year, with plenty of interest off-field and on-field fireworks. Between Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s introduction, 5-3 Audi MLS Cup playoff game and more, this game has a knack for boldness.
“There are matches, we have them too, they enter the match stands on the field. There is nothing like we are here. [in El Trafico], “Thorrington said.” I’m talking about effects games, and those effects may vary, but it’s always a game of effects. Whatever the format, everyone is focused on the built-in and 90 minutes. There are remarkable storylines that could not have been scripted, and we have painful and exciting moments.
Battle for LA, on and off the field
Both LAFC and Galaxy have captured the city of Los Angeles and Southern California in different ways.
The Galaxy was the gold standard in the MLS, one of the originals of the league, home to five MLS Cup championships, London Donovan, Robbie Keane and David Beckham. LAFC came and made their own path, their sleek black instruments were polarized against the galaxy’s favorite whites, and their sprawling Bank of California Stadium is located in the city in a stone’s throw from The Coliseum.
“Los Angeles, our city, what’s LAFC for our supporters? This is passion,” said Thornington. “You see in every game. Is increasing.Our players know it.Our players know its importance.Our staff know it.We know it.I firmly believe that our players will give everything.
El Trophy has already been played 13 times in four short years, with both teams conceding 58 (!) Goals. The Galaxy is leading the series with the 5W-3L-5D, but LAFC won the solo playoffs. LAFC ended three of their four seasons ahead of the Galaxy, trailing Los Angeles in the 2021 season, although both clubs missed the playoffs.
“The Galaxy is the original team,” said Galaxy midfielder Sacha Gleston. “I grew up in Southern California, I’m a growing Galaxy fan. When I look at our fan base, I think it reflects well on Los Angeles. When people look at LA from the outside, it’s these glitter and glamor and Hollywood stars. The rest of Los Angeles – the real Los Angeles – working class people, the hard workers, the vast majority of people here see our team, the real people in Los Angeles are our team fans.
Gladstone grew up on Huntington Beach in Southern California. Chivas began his career with USA, the now defunct MLS club considered the second team in the league in Southern California.
Vanni played for the Galaxy from 1996-2001 and then again in 2008. He was also the assistant coach at Shivas USA from 2011-12.
“The rivalry with Sivas never came to this,” Vanni said. “Chivas always felt like little brother, clubs never felt equal and competitive. With LAFC, they created a huge fan base and had fantastic seasons. The competition is on a different level, the quality of the players, the evolution of the league, a lot of things.
In the league, LAFC has never been ashamed of their ambition, as highlighted by the then-record-breaking supporters’ shield of 2019. They want to be one of the most recognizable and successful clubs on the continent, which is a true Hollywood story.
“All LAFC can do now is stand on the shoulders of the giants who came before us,” Thorrington said. I think LAFC reflects the present and future of MLS; I say this with due respect to each club. Each club has to choose how they want things to be done. In five short years, I think our ambition was to be the teachers of the next stage of development in this league. We have laid a foundation, but it still needs trophies to win and matches we still have to win.
Off-season tweaks for each Fuel Fast Starts
Both clubs are off to a strong start this season.
Steve Cerundolo took over as head coach and LAFC renewed the squad this season with several key in-league additions such as Colin Acosta, Maxim Griffith, Franco Escobar, Ryan Hollingshead and Ili Sanchez. At this early stage they sat on top of the Western Conference and immediately ran to the ground.
“One of the benefits with Steve is that he already knew his players,” Thorrington said. “Although he was definitely licensed to change the team as he saw fit, the way LAFC played was part of being a club for us. It helped him hit the ground running, but I want to give due respect to the other staff who helped Steve. , Like newcomers. Bringing in some new perspectives as part of our evolutionary process, but adhering to what we thought contributed to creating this. Solid foundation. “
Cerundolo first came to the club as head coach of Las Vegas Lights, before getting his first team job this winter after transferring to LAFC’s USL Championship subsidiary Bob Bradley Toronto FC in 2021.
“Stevie has done well,” Gleston said. Gladstone and Cerundolo played together for many years on the American men’s national team under Bradley. “Continuing what Bob started and transforming it, making it his own.”
LAFC still has a high-performance addition.
The club has opened a DP spot since Diego Rossi borrowed from Turkish club Fenerbahce. Although they see the addition of a DP this winter, the right deal has never been fulfilled and they are actively negotiating with the targets. Rossi’s debt is expected to become a permanent measure, sources say, which could officially end this month.
“We feel very good about the team we have, but the plan is to use that space to bring in the player who has the most impact,” Thorrington said. “Our window is still open, so we have the ability to do that in the short term, but we also have the luxury of waiting until the summer, which gives us extra data points to move the right DP forward.”
MLS’s primary transfer window will remain open until May 4, before the secondary transfer window opens on July 7.
The Galaxy has made some changes this season as well. In the second year under Greg Vanni, there were several key players, but the team was augmented by some high-attacking additions.
Former Brazil international Douglas Costa has signed as DP, Mark Delcado has been traded with Toronto FC and Raheem Edwards has signed for the free agency. All three players were first-choice openers at the start of the season. Costa provided another effective option for the attack, with Delcado helping to balance midfield next to Ryan Raveloson and Edwards taking charge on the left back, leading the league in assists (4).
The positive changes in both clubs led to an early first-table clash between rivals.
“It’s huge,” Chicharido said. “They’re first in our conference, they’re our neighbors. They want to reach the level this system has reached, that means a lot. We know what it’s, we know what it means. But on the pitch, it’s going to be 11v11. If you can manage, you can deal with it.