Unbeaten Galaxy seek to stay on top at LAFC's expense

ByField Level Media ESPN logo
Friday, April 5, 2024

The Los Angeles Galaxy and Los Angeles FC seem to be going in opposite directions heading into Saturday night's clash.

Entering the latest chapter of the "El Trafico" series at BMO Stadium in Los Angeles, the Galaxy will try to continue their resurgence while host LAFC tries to overcome its early struggles a year after reaching the MLS Cup final.

The Galaxy (3-0-3, 12 points), who finished 13th in the Western Conference last season and missed the playoffs, lead the conference and are tied with Eastern Conference leader FC Cincinnati for the most points in MLS.

The Galaxy are unbeaten through six matches for the first time since 2010.

Meanwhile LAFC (2-3-1, seven points) is off to its worst start in franchise history and has been blanked in all three of its losses.

"Probably night and day, to be quite honest," Galaxy coach Greg Vanney said Thursday when asked about the difference from last year.

"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."

The Galaxy have produced 13 goals, which ranks second in MLS behind only Inter Miami's 14.

Dejan Joveljic, who is expected to play, ranks third with five goals while Marky Delgado is tied for second in assists with four. Joseph Paintsil has been one of the keys to the offense's rhythm and ranks third in key passes while Riqui Puig and Gabriel Pec have been huge in terms of helping the Galaxy dominate possession.

LAFC is led by Denis Bouanga and Cristian Olivera. Although Bouanga leads the league in shots (34) and shots on target (13), he has found the back of the net only twice this season. LAFC is hoping to ride some of the offensive momentum from a two-goal effort in last week's 3-2 loss at Colorado.

"It was never a concern of ours that we wouldn't start scoring again. So, it's nice to see that," LAFC coach Steve Cherundolo said.

--Field Level Media