The Los Angeles Galaxy look to rebound from a major pounding when they host Los Angeles FC in the third El Trafico matchup, at StubHub Center in Carson, Calif., on Friday.
The Galaxy (10-9-7, 37 points) are winless in their last four matches, but last Saturday’s 5-0 road loss to the Seattle Sounders was especially horrifying.
Los Angeles was without five key players — including striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic — in an effort that irritated coach Sigi Schmid.
“There’s not much you can say. It was an embarrassing game for us,” Schmid told reporters. “We gifted them three goals. I thought the first three goals were gifts from us, and even the last one was another gift. You just can’t do that against a good team and expect to get a result.”
The Galaxy can’t let the setback linger and risk losing more ground in the Western Conference playoff race.
They are tied for fifth place with the Portland Timbers, and Seattle (two points behind) and the Vancouver Whitecaps (three) are in close proximity.
Los Angeles FC (12-7-6, 42 points) have their own battle as they are tied for second in the West with Sporting Kansas City, three points behind first-place FC Dallas, who play the Houston Dynamo on Thursday night.
LAFC have won back-to-back matches after experiencing a five-match stretch (0-3-2) without a victory.
In addition, LAFC are 0-1-1 against the Galaxy this season and were outscored 6-5 in the two matches.
“It’s definitely a big game, but not just because of (the rivalry) but also because we’re in the final stretch,” midfielder Lee Nguyen told reporters. “We’re fighting for positions and playoff spots. We’re both close in the standings right now and this could give us a little push to stretch that gap to get the win there.”
LAFC lead the Western Conference with 49 goals, with the Galaxy next at 48.
Forward Adama Diomande leads LAFC with nine goals, while forwards Diego Rossi (seven assists) and Carlos Vela have eight tallies apiece.
Ibrahimovic has a team-best 15 goals for the Galaxy and will be back in the lineup after skipping the rout as a precaution due to the turf playing surface in Seattle.
But what LA needs most is a better effort, as many of the players were highly disappointed over the lackluster showing.
“We need to be angry,” Galaxy midfielder Perry Kitchen told reporters. “We have eight games to go. We need to make the playoffs. I think if we win four, I think we’re in. Five for sure, I would say, just with the history of the points.
“But yeah, we need to be angry, we need to be up for it. We’ve got a huge game on Friday against our crosstown rival.”
—Field Level Media