By Araceli Villanueva // @Aracelv1
Where: StubHub Center, Carson, Calif.
When: Friday, August 24, 7:30 p.m. PT.
How to watch: ESPN, ESPNLA 710, KFWB 980
The final installment of “El Trafico” is upon us!
The Los Angeles Football Club will return to the StubHub Center to face the LA Galaxy in the final battle – to see who is the best team in LA.
LAFC is currently on a two-game winning streak following their 2-0 victory over the Colorado Rapids this past weekend. And they’ll hopefully carry that momentum into Friday looking for their first win of the series.
The second meeting of both teams saw some conflict at the Banc of California stadium, causing the already deep-seeded rivalry between both clubs – to intensify. Even though the match ended in a 2-2 draw, fans weren’t satisfied.
For this final historic meeting of the season, I interviewed my fellow colleague at MLSFemale and LA Galaxy reporter, Michelle Huitink.
Araceli Villanueva: The Galaxy hasn’t been performing well lately having back-to-back draws prior to falling to Seattle this past weekend, how is the Galaxy expecting to turn things around for Friday’s rally?
Michelle Huitink: The Galaxy will have most of their starters, including Zlatan Ibrahimovic back, but there’s still going to be some tinkering for the line up as Giovani Dos Santos is still out and [Romain] Alessandrini is a question mark. They are due for a win. The players take it personally. I think the [goals] are definitely in the heads of LAFC and just need one goal to cement. They’ll start having flashbacks of the first game and how they tied at Banc.
AV: How do things sit as far as the Galaxy’s ambitions this season? Are there nerves about their playoff prospects?
MH: Right now, the Western Conference is so close that someone might miss the slot and I’m hoping it’s not the Galaxy. If they keep playing this bad (our defense is awful; it is the dead horse we keep beating) then they don’t deserve to make the playoffs.
AV: LAFC signed three new players including Christian Ramirez and Danilo Silva – who have already seen playing time – during the transfer window. Has the Galaxy made any signings? How will Joao Pedro’s loan affect the roster?
MH: It won’t affect the roster as he usually plays with the Galaxy II. The first team’s midfield is crowded anyway. There’s no space. And even financially, our backline is too highly paid to put in a fresh out of college Tomas Hilliard-Arce, for example.
They got TAM money from Portland for first spot allocation, but they can’t make any moves the rest of this season and can’t use that money in 2019.
AV: Friday marks the third meeting between both rivals. Do fans believe in the rivalry? What precautions has the club made for the StubHub Center?
MH: I encourage Galaxy fans to especially be classy and not do any vandalism of any kind and obviously not escalating to physical assault. Supporters do have privileges back and security will definitely be heightened, I just don’t know to what extent.
AV: Bonus question: What are your predictions for the score?
MH: 3-2. LA Galaxy win.