Carlos Vela scored in the 53rd minute and LAFC saved a 3-3 draw with LA Galaxy on Sunday night. The final chapter of the 17-month-old El Trafico derby was in a different atmosphere Unusual passion and excitement played in the often laid-back Los Angeles. Although LAFC was only launched last season, the teams have created an immediate rivalry with their spirited support groups, first-class individual talents and an instant talent for exciting games.
The two biggest stars of MLS love this stage: Zlatan Ibrahimovic has scored eight goals in only five games against LAFC, surpassing Velas seven goals against the Galaxy.
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"If they do not beat us, they will not beat us," Ibrahimovic said after the game, which celebrated both goals in front of the LAFC fan section. "What can I say, I enjoy it when I play against them, I like to play in this stadium." Latif Blessing had additional motivation when his friends told him about the posters that were placed around the Banc of California Stadium this week and Ibrahimovic knocked him out with the LA Galaxy during his club's last meeting.
"I was crazy," Blessing said. "It was so disrespectful, I was sad, I felt like playing this game, I have to give everything, I have to do my best."
Cristian Pavon scored his first MLS goal to give the Galaxy a 3-1 lead Blessing scored twice for LAFC in the first half just 16 minutes before Vela scored for his 27th MLS opening goal. Vela was involuntarily removed shortly after his goal with a possible thigh injury, but no team could conjure a winning goal in the fifth edition of El Trafico .
The galaxy is 2-0-3 against MLS-leading LAFC, including victory and draw this season.
"They lead 3-1, I think we should keep the results, but then we made mistakes that killed ourselves," Ibrahimovic said. "They were not, I mean, they punished us, but if they play their game and we make mistakes, they punish us, and on a higher level, the one who makes the most mistakes will pay the most."
LAFC (19-3-5) is aiming for MLS's best game time record and the first seed in the playoffs. LAFC have won five games in a row against Galaxy (13: 11: 3) since losing 3-3 last month. After three unbeaten games since April, LAFC is fourth in the Western Conference.
The season is over, these arch-rivals could easily meet in October in a playoff game, which has spiced up the already sizzling rivalry even more closely in MLS. Not surprisingly, Ibrahimovic has benefited from his Galaxy debut in March 2018, scoring two electrifying goals in a comeback victory with three goals in the opening fixture of these clubs.
Ibrahimovic had a hat-trick against LAFC last month, overtaking Vela in two goals in a 3-2 win for Galaxy.
And Ibrahimovic needed about 100 seconds to enter the LAFC at this time. After a goal from Pavon with the left foot of the Swedish superstar defiantly celebrated with outstretched arms in front of the loud North End fans of LAFC. Blessing made it 10 minutes later with a header rebound, but Ibrahimovic scored his 22nd goal in 22 games and blew the LAFC fans kisses.
Pavon scored the first goal of the aspiring Argentine star for his new club 3-1, less than a minute later, but LAFC recovered. Blessing scored again just before half-time and Vela combined a great talent in the 53rd minute.
Vela's 27 goals are as many as FC Cincinnati's entire squad has achieved this season, but the LAFC captain seems to have strained his hamstring before coach Bob Bradley drew him in the 61st minute. Vela threw his captain's bow to the ground disappointed after being ousted by Brian Rodríguez, a 19-year-old Uruguayan newcomer, on his MLS debut.
Both teams played more carefully in the last few minutes. In extra time Ibrahimovic almost scored another hat-trick, but his wicked shot from outside the area narrowly missed the post.