LAFC hand Galaxy first '24 loss in El Trafico matchup

ByField Level Media ESPN logo
Sunday, April 7, 2024

Timothy Tillman and Denis Bouanga each scored first-half goals to propel LAFC to a 2-1 home victory over the LA Galaxy on Saturday night in Los Angeles.

LAFC (3-3-1, 10 points), which entered the match struggling through its worst start after six matches in franchise history, dealt their city rivals their first defeat of the season. On the flipside, the Galaxy (3-1-3, 12 points) had its first six-match unbeaten streak to open a season since 2010 snapped.

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LAFC trails the all-time series in the El Trafico classic but narrowed the Galaxy's lead to 9-8 with five draws.

"Obviously the [LA] Galaxy are quite a potent offense this year and are very dangerous with space in behind," LAFC head coachSteve Cherundolo said.

"Taking that away does take something away from their attack as well. Which also could possibly open them up for counter attacks, which is one of the weaker parts of their game."

After the teams traded goals in the first 28 minutes, Bouanga gave LAFC the edge for good when he converted a penalty kick in the 35th minute. Moments earlier, Bouanga drew a foul inside the 18-yard box after he was tripped in the corner by Miki Yimane. The play was reviewed but upheld.

LAFC's defense held firm in the second half, although Bouanga missed a chance to make it a bit more comfortable down the stretch when he missed a shot at an empty net high over the goal. On the play, Cristian Olivera drew Galaxy goalkeeper John McCarthy out and crossed it perfectly to Bouanga. But Bouanga sailed his shot into the crowd.

LAFC found the mark in the fourth minute of the match when Tillman tapped home his third goal of the season on a play initiated by a corner kick by Mateusz Bogusz. The ball tipped off Ilie Sanchez and found its way to Tillman, who found the back of the net.

"His [Tillman's] characteristics and behaviors on the field have translated into a very good player for our league, so we're very happy with him, his progression, and again, the performance tonight. He's been through this season, maybe our most consistent performer,"Cherundolo said.

The Galaxy evened things in the 28th minute when Julian Aude put pressure on goal and found the back of the net after four consecutive attempts. Aude's first shot hit the far post, then his second shot off a rebound was blocked by an LAFC defender. Following up the play, Gabriel Pec fired a shot that was also blocked. But Aude fired in the rebound on the fourth attempt.

LAFC prevailed despite the Galaxy controlling possession 59.6 percent to 40.3. LAFC outshout the Galaxy on shots on target 9-4.

Information from ESPN's Cesar Hernandez contributed to this report

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