Chicharito scored his MLS-leading sixth goal and added an assist as the LA Galaxy started the 2021 El Trafico series with a 2-1 win over LAFC at Dignity Health Sports Park on Saturday.
The Galaxy only had a couple looks on the day but they made them count, as a stunning tackle led to Chicharito’s early opener and the Mexican star set up Jonathan dos Santos’ game winner late.
Greg Vanney welcomed several players back to the starting XI. Sebastian Lletget was back in, as was Ethan Zubak and Adam Saldaña.
The Galaxy were aggressive early and earned several corner kicks to try to find a breakthrough.
They found it in the 11th minute from the run of play. LAFC tried to spring a counterattack, but a fantastic tackle from Derrick Williams went straight to Chicharito, who buried the shot to give LA the lead.
LA struggled to actually get any real purchase in the game after that goal, however, as LAFC piled on pressure but the Galaxy defending well deep. They let the game get too deep, however, and stopped actually playing the ball, as LAFC tried to break through and the Galaxy tried not to break.
Still, LA held on to go into halftime with the 1-0 lead, with the Galaxy having to defend hard for 35 minutes but managing to keep their opponent off the board.
The first change of the game for the Galaxy came in the 55th minute, with Carlos Harvey replacing Saldaña, who was on a yellow card anyway.
The Galaxy continued to defend primarily in the 2nd half, with Williams and Julian Araujo playing great in terms of their timely tackles to prevent goals by LAFC. But they broke eventually, with Diego Rossi scoring in the 62nd minute to tie up the game at 1-1.
Right after the LAFC goal, Vanney brought on Sacha Kljestan for Samuel Grandsir, who had a rough game, and Cameron Dunbar entered for Zubak. Efrain Alvarez then entered the game for Lletget in 76th minute.
But the Galaxy had another rally in the 79th minute, as Chicharito picked up the ball in the box, sent a centering pass and dos Santos ran onto it with a one-timer that was unstoppable.
JONA JONA JONA JONA JONA JONA— Major League Soccer (@MLS) May 9, 2021
For. The. Lead. pic.twitter.com/RX3PzqJ7Ia
It was not a perfect performance, but it was honestly very good. The Galaxy tested their luck in having to defend for the balance of the game but Williams was outstanding and so was Bond. Meanwhile, they had hardly any chances on the day but took care of business. It was a very mature performance and seeing LA come back after conceding an equalizer is a great sign.
In their next game, LA are scheduled to host Austin FC for the teams’ first-ever meeting next Saturday.
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