As the LA Galaxy and Los Angeles Football Club meet for just the second time in their history on Thursday night, they’ll be hard-pressed to match the drama of the first-ever match between the two teams in late March.
After falling behind 3-0, the Galaxy stormed back to a 4-3 victory thanks to two goals from newly acquired superstar striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who had only arrived from Europe two days earlier.
“It was amazing,” Ibrahimovic recalled this week. “The stadium was full. People cheering. The result was not the best, but we did good after a while and we won the game. Those are the games you get triggered by. You get the adrenaline.”
Both teams have enjoyed improved form since that classic at the Galaxy’s StubHub Center.
The Galaxy (9-7-4, 31 points) have won three straight, are unbeaten in seven and are 6-1-3 in their past 10 as they’ve climbed from beneath the playoff line into fourth place in the Western Conference.
Two spots ahead of them? Expansion LAFC (10-5-5, 35 points), which had gone six unbeaten until last Sunday’s 5-1 loss at Minnesota United.
While LAFC have been impressive under former United States national team coach Bob Bradley, Sunday’s effort was the fifth in which they’ve conceded three goals or more.
It’s a pattern that began with the Galaxy’s second-half fightback. Even so, Bradley insists there were also positives to take from that first meeting as his team welcomes the Galaxy to Banc of California Stadium for the first time.
“From the beginning of the year, we wanted to play really good football, to be fun to watch, to compete,” Bradley said. “We did it for 60 minutes that day, and then we lost our way.”
The Galaxy, meanwhile, will have more of their first-choice talent available than they did at the StubHub Center. In particular, Mexican international brothers Giovani and Jonathan dos Santos are expected to play in coach Sigi Schmid’s front six after both missed the previous occasion.
That will give a decidedly south-of-the-border flavor to this encounter, with fellow Mexican World Cup player Carlos Vela firmly entrenched as a catalyst of Bradley’s squad. Vela also scored twice in the teams’ first meeting but was overshadowed by Ibrahimovic’s late heroics.
—Field Level Media