Draw, both teams to score
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El Tráfico has been a fixture filled with goals, but that might not be the case this weekend. The two sides have clashed 13 times in MLS history, and only 4 matches have seen 2 or fewer goals scored in a game. That streak is in danger of ending this weekend as both sides have been solid defensively.
LA Galaxy are not at their best but have still managed to pick up three wins. They have lost twice already, and that is not a good sign. However, their big win despite finishing with only 10 men on the pitch over Portland Timbers last weekend should give them enough confidence heading into the game against their derby rivals.
Los Angeles FC are on a stunning winning run this season. They have dropped points just once in their first five games, and that was a 1-1 draw against Portland Timbers – the side LA Galaxy defeated last week.
Overall, LA Galaxy have won five times in this fixture, while LAFC have registered just 3 wins. Despite being a local derby game, there have only been two red cards previously in these meetings.
Mark-Anthony Kaye of LAFC, back in September 2020, was the first ever player to get sent off in this fixture before LA Galaxy’s Giancarlo González committed a last-man tackle in the meeting a month later to become the second player to be given marching orders. Both sides missed out on the playoffs last season and will be desperate to qualify this season.
We anticipate a chaotic affair when these two sides meet this weekend, and perhaps even the unraveling of their respective defensive stability.
LA Galaxy have not been able to make the most of their home advantage this season. They needed a late goal from Javier Hernández to win their first match at home this season, and then lost to Orlando City FC via an early Facundo Torres goal.
Galaxy started the season with a 1-0 win and followed it up with a similar scoreline against Charlotte. But they were handed a reality check by Seattle Sounders and Orlando City before they bounced back with a 3-1 win over Portland Timbers last weekend.
Galaxy’s main issue this season has been in offense, where they have been unable to get the best out of their players. They have averaged 16 shots per game, but only 4.4 of those are actually hitting the target. With seven goals in 5 matches, manager Greg Vanney is yet to figure out what he needs to change. They need to be more clinical in front of the goal as they are creating enough chances, but the final hurdle is proving too big for them at the moment. They have been relying a bit too much on Chicharito, who has scored 4 of their 7 goals this season.
Moreover, Galaxy tend to dominate possession in their matches. They average over 56% possession this season and have a healthy 86% pass success rate too. The midfielders are doing their job well and are able to pin the opponents back in their own half. They manage to pass more in the middle third and also create 2.8 big chances per game – only for the forwards to miss 2.2 of those on average.
With the midfield dominating possession and managing a healthy pass success rate, the defense has also been putting in a good effort. They have conceded just five goals in their opening five matches and are yet to make an error leading to a goal. However, they conceded a penalty, which cost them as Fredy Montero scored for Seattle Sounders in the 3-2 loss.
Marky Delgado will not be playing this weekend after he was sent off during the win over Portland Timbers. The midfielder was shown a second yellow minutes after Galaxy made it 3-1, but the 10-men managed to hold their lead for 30-plus minutes to seal the win. He will be a big miss this weekend, and Vanney will need to figure out whom he puts on the pitch.
LAFC are the team to beat this season, as one of the three unbeaten teams in MLS right now. They are on top of the Supporters’ Shield table on goal difference and will be keen on keeping their place with a win over their derby rivals this Saturday.
They have beaten their local rivals just thrice in MLS history and have lost five times. However, the three wins resulted from sheer dominance, which is something manager Steven Cherundolo will be expecting from his players this weekend. They won 5-3 in 2019, then managed to make it a tennis score in the next game – a 6-2 win in 2020. They lost the following two clashes but went on to win 2-0 in the pandemic-hit 2020 season.
LAFC have been dominating this season in all departments. They seem to have found the right balance between offense and defense, and a lot of credit needs to go to the midfielders. They have been able to handle the game well and keep the majority of the possession in almost all matches.
Carlos Vela leads the charts for most goals for LAFC this season with 4. He scored three of those in the opening weekend to help his side win 3-0 against Colorado Rapids. The Mexican is chasing the golden boot this season after missing a lot of matches last year.
LAFC have scored 13 goals in their opening 5 games, and 10 of those have come from inside the box. Cherundolo will be more than pleased with his attackers as they average 2.6 goals per game – the same numbers as the big chances created by his midfielders.
They have a good pass success rate of over 82% this season, but the coach would be expecting more. They average 905 pass success in their own half but are unable to replicate that in the opponent’s half. Despite attempting almost the same number of passes, the success rate drops to just over 71%. They need a bit more composure, and that should do the trick.
Despite keeping two clean sheets and conceding just 4 times in their five matches, LAFC still have some areas they could improve. Their defense does not win too many duels, with aerial duels being their major concern.
No player has been sent off for LAFC this season so far, and Cherundolo will be looking forward to ending the game with 11 men again. They do have the better chance of getting the win in the derby this week, but it all depends on how composed the midfield can be and if LA Galaxy decides to play as they have done this season, instead of sitting deep and defending.
|LA Galaxy vs Los Angeles FC Information|
|Teams||LA Galaxy vs Los Angeles FC|
|Location||Dignity Health Sports Park|
|Time||Saturday, April 9 at 7.30pm EST|
|How to watch||FOX, FOX Deportes|
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Varun is a web journalist who has been writing on sports for 13 years. He took a shine for the MLS during the 2021 season and has been following it and writing about it since, alongside his work involving the English Premier League, La Liga, and the Serie A. He is deeply interested in soccer analytics and strategy and has aspirations to move into coaching at some point. Email: [email protected]More info on Varun Shetty
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