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Cristian Pavón denies rift in LA Galaxy locker room

Team gears up for big El Trafico clash Sunday.

MLS: Vancouver Whitecaps FC at LA Galaxy Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

There have been good vibes around the LA Galaxy this week, after their last-minute 1-0 win over the Vancouver Whitecaps last weekend snapped a six-game losing streak.

The pressure eased around the club after the long slide, and the club enters their big El Trafico showdown against LAFC on Sunday with belief they can grab a third straight win against the rival.

But has there been a rift between Galaxy stars Cristian Pavón and Chicharito? Or in the locker room in general?

It’s obvious the attack is still working on building chemistry during a choppy season, but Pavón denied any issues in the locker room.

“All the players, we get along well,” he said via interpreter during pregame availability Friday. “Every day in the locker room we have great friendship amongst each other. We talk about games, we talk about our lives outside of the team. We’re talking all the time. I don’t know where that [report] came from. All I can say is we’re doing great in the locker room and we get along very well.”

So is Sunday’s game a must-win for LA? Depends on who you ask in the organization.

“Yes of course we have to win,” said Pavón. “Because we need the three points and that’s the important thing ahead of Sunday. We just have to win, get out there and we’ve played against them before. We know how they play, they know how we play, so we just have to go out there and get those three points.”

In contrast, head coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto didn’t call the game a must-win, but nonetheless placed importance on it, with the Galaxy three points out of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference at present.

“I think we need to think game by game,” Schelotto told reporters in English. “Right now we need to be focused about LAFC and try to win and getting better in the position in the table. The more important thing is to beat them and to play the game.”

Schelotto admitted the win last weekend provided a boost for the team heading into El Trafico.

“It’s really different at the moment because obviously the feeling is really different. We suffered six [losses] in a row and then we suffered a lot but now we are coming back and we have the option of the final five games, try to win and get playoffs. I think it’s a good opportunity to show everyone we [have] life and we are ready to win the game with LAFC.”

Schelotto also confirmed attacker Yony Gonzalez, who appeared to suffer an ankle injury against Vancouver, has been training and will be available for the game, as will midfielder Jonathan dos Santos and defender Rolf Feltscher, who have cleared quarantine after going out on international duty this month.

Will Chicharito begin the game on the bench or starting? Schelotto said he is still working through his options.

“We will decide tomorrow. We will practice with him, with Yony, we practiced with [Ethan] Zubak yesterday and we try a lot of possibilities we have. And then we’ll decide tomorrow,” he said.

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