web analytics
El Tráfico could “change everything” for rejuvenated LA Galaxy | MLSSoccer.com

El Tráfico could “change everything” for rejuvenated LA Galaxy | MLSSoccer.com

What a difference a year can make for the LA Galaxy.

Heading into Saturday’s massive El Tráfico clash at LAFC (7:30 pm ET | Apple TV – Free, FOX), the Galaxy reside atop the Western Conference and Supporters’ Shield tables (3W-0L-3D record, 12 points). In contrast, they failed to win any of their first seven matches last year as off-field issues reared their head.

Now, with a rejuvenated team, it’s a golden chance to establish even more positive momentum in the battle for Los Angeles.

“A lot of things are different than where we were last year, to be fair,” head coach Greg Vanney said on Thursday. “Probably night and day, to be quite honest. But we’re also very aware after having last year, how precious having momentum and having these good dynamics going on, how precious it is to try to keep these things in your favor as much as possible.”

“As we approach this weekend, we know this is a big game and it’s an exciting game,” Vanney added. “But this group looks forward to these types of moments, and this is a great opportunity for us. Going into their building, it’s not easy.”

LA’s strong start has been fueled by the club’s new-look attacking unit, scoring 13 goals through six games.

With new DP wingers Gabriel Pec and Joseph Paintsil forming instant chemistry with playmaker Riqui Puig and red-hot striker Dejan Joveljic, the Galaxy can seemingly score at will.

“We can be losing 2-0 and still think we can win,” midfielder Diego Fagúndez said. “That’s huge. And maybe it’s something we didn’t have last year. But this year, we know we can score a lot of goals. But we have to be strong defensively as well.”

While the early-season form is encouraging, derby matches present a different challenge.

With LAFC off to an uncharacteristically sluggish start to their 2024 season (2W-3L-1D; seven points), the Galaxy are well aware they’re playing an opponent hunting for a get-right result.

“This game will be harder than all the others, and I think it will show what we can do this season,” Fagúndez said. “It’s the first Clásico. If we win this game, it changes everything. All the people who still don’t think that the Galaxy are back, this could change everything.”

Aside from the rivalry implications, the Galaxy can reach seven matches unbeaten to start the season. Maybe the five-time champions are truly ready to return to the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs – and thrive.

“Staying on this path is the most important thing for us, especially beating an opponent of their caliber in a Clásico,” said midfielder Gastón Brugman. “It’s very important for us. We know that a win will improve what’s working, so we have to keep going.”

Read More

Add Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *