LAFC vs LA Galaxy: Preview and Prediction

The first El Trafico of the MLS season is on the horizon as local rivals LAFC and LA Galaxy lock horns, with the latter leading the Western Conference.

The MLS season has already been underway and is six matchdays old, with LAFC being one of the surprise names at the lower part of the table, led by LA Galaxy, compared to what they would want. The LA-based club were the runners-up of the 2023 MLS Cup and will undoubtedly want an appearance in that game this year, although, before that, they must improve their standings.

LAFC were beaten by Colorado Rapids the last time out in a thrilling 3-2 game, which was also their third consecutive defeat on the road. They have also conceded eight goals in that period, although their manager, Steve Cherundolo, can take comfort from their superior home form heading into a crucial period of their season.

At the BMO Stadium, LAFC have been unbeaten this year and conceded only once. If the MLS Cup play-offs are to be added, then they are undefeated here in six games, and they will play three of their next four at this venue. Hence, for Cherundolo’s men, it’s an excellent opportunity to sneak back in into the top order and then take it from there.

Heading to the BMO Stadium, rivals LA Galaxy do not have a recent good record there, having lost three of their last four encounters there. The most recent one came in the previous domestic season when the Galaxy suffered a 4-2 defeat.

However, this season, they are sitting on top of the Western Conference table after an unbeaten start to the year with three wins and as many draws as six games. Vancouver Whitecaps could still take over the top spot should they take a win in their game in hand over Galaxy.

Greg Vanney will be most pleased with the start LA Galaxy have had this season, considering their disastrous beginnings the last time out. Here, in this season’s first El Trafico, the Galaxy boss will want bragging rights for sure, although for that to happen, they must improve their away form to LAFC and get three points on board.

Team News & Tactics


Last weekend, LAFC were missing Omar Campos with an ankle problem, while Lorenzo Dellavalle also remained absent due to an ACL injury and will miss the remainder of the campaign.

Tomas Angel continues to battle an abductor injury and is in considerable doubt about this one, having already missed the last three games for Galaxy. David Martinez was sent off last time and will miss El Trafico through a suspension.

Campos is still expected to make it to the lineup despite his doubtful status, as he will begin the game at left-back. Jesus Murillo and Aaron Long are the preferred centre-back pairing for LAFC, with Ryan Hollingshead at right-back. Behind the defender will be French veteran Hugo Lloris, who continues to adjust himself to new surroundings.

Timothy Tillman, Ilie Sanchez, and Eduard Atuesta are the likely choices in central midfield. The front three for LAFC will consist of Mateusz Bogusz leading the line with the support of Denis Bouanga and Cristian Olivera.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Lloris; Hollingshead, Murillo, Long, Campos; Tillman, Sanchez, Atuesta; Olivera, Bogusz, Bouanga

LA Galaxy

LA Galaxy are not missing many stars for their short trip to LAFC. Jalen Neal is the only long-term absentee and is set to miss around six weeks of action with an abdominal injury.

Martin Caceres is significantly doubtful about this clash with a muscular issue. Beyond those, they will have a full complement of players to choose from ahead of El Trafico.

Maya Yoshida will marshall the central defence, with Eriq Zavaleta by his side. Miki Yamane and Julian Aude are the preferred choices for the full-back roles. Galaxy will go with a midfield double-pivot, with Mark Delgado and Gaston Brugman in those roles.

Former Barcelona man Riqui Puig will play in the advanced attacking midfield role, with Joseph Paintsil and Gabriel Pec on either side. Dejan Joveljic will lead the line for Galaxy, as he hopes to get among the goals and help his team maintain the top spot on the table.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): McCarthy; Yamane, Zavaleta, Yoshida, Aude; Delgado, Brugman; Paintsil, Puig, Pec; Jeveljic

Key Stats

  • LA Galaxy are undefeated in their last six matches in the MLS.
  • LA Galaxy have won two of their last three competitive games against LAFC.
  • LA Galaxy are unbeaten this season after six games of the MLS season.
  • LAFC have won three of their last four games against LA Galaxy at the BMO Stadium.
  • LAFC are unbeaten in their last six competitive games at the BMO Stadium.

Player to Watch

Riqui Puig

Embed from Getty Images

The former Barcelona star has been a good buy for the LA Galaxy as they hope the Spaniard will do well this season in terms of their objectives. With three direct goal involvements this season in six games, Puig will want a big performance in El Trafico.

He will be one of the leading players on the pitch and probably the star attraction of this fixture among a host of other former European league stars. Hence, for Puig to stake his claim as one of the best in the MLS, he needs to put in a performance worthy of his talent and help Galaxy triumph in the local Derby.


LAFC 2-1 LA Galaxy

The derby usually brings the best out of any team, and despite LAFC struggling for relevance since the new season began, this is the sort of game that can help them spring into action. LAFC also has a good home form to fall back on, especially against their local rivals.

LA Galaxy may be sitting on top of the Western Conference table, but they have shown vulnerability. The pressure of the derby could become a burden for them, especially in this away fixture, where they have struggled at the BMO Stadium of late. For now, things point towards an LAFC victory, which will help them climb into a more respectable place on the table.

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