Tag Archives: El Trafico

LA Galaxy Advance to Western Conference Semifinal

Official LA Galaxy Reporter

By Michelle Huitink // @mchuitink

Los Angeles Galaxy was the only away team to make it out of the first round in the playoffs on October 20, 2019.

LA Galaxy defeated Minnesota United FC at Allianz Field 2-0 on a chilly, autumn evening. The first half was sloppy and the blue, white, and gold didn’t have control of the ball. Overall, the typical and predictable play had fans worried and doubting they could move forward–both the ball and in the playoffs.

The starting line up featured Perry Kitchen, who hadn’t played with the team in over six weeks, but with Joe Corona out on a toe injury, he was the best bet.  The Galaxy’s defense has been the weak spot for a few seasons now. So, Rolf Feltscher was replaced by Giancarlo “Pipo” Gonzalez. By playing Pipo back and pulling Kitchen deep, pushing up Jonathan Dos Santos and Sebastian Lletget worked. 

Lletget’s breakthrough goal came in the 71st minute.

In the 73rd minute, Romain Alessandrini made his long-awaited return when he was subbed in for Uriel Antuna. Within three minutes, he had assisted Jonathan Dos Santos’s winning goal. He was back in full force and was looking to score. He had a few good runs and chances himself.

LAG conceded a goal late in what turned out to be a physical game, but they’re lucky that’s all because MNUFC had shot after shot and just couldn’t finish the chances they were given, even right in front of net. Per the usual, David Bingham pulled off some major saves. 

As for head coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto’s late subs, the question was, who else could he sub even with two players, Gonzalez and Polenta, with yellow cards in the backline?  Servando Carrasco got subbed in for Lletget during stoppage time. 

There were no Zlatan Ibrahimovic goals this time, but I am more than okay with that because it proves this LA Galaxy team doesn’t rely on him to win and it makes the lion that much hungrier for the next round.

It turns out, LA Galaxy still have a chance to host MLS Cup should they make it to a final against Toronto, which finished the first round with one point less.

The stage is set as the El Trafico saga continues. LA Galaxy are undefeated against LAFC. The conference semifinal is set for Thursday, October 24th. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30pm PST at Banc of California Stadium. Ticket prices are already rising above $200 a person. Watch on ESPN/ESPN Deportes or come to a viewing party.

In 24 seasons, this is the 19th time in club history that LA Galaxy are part of postseason play. Of any team in MLS, LA Galaxy have the most playoff wins, with a record 45, and MLS best five Cup victories.

LA Galaxy are hosting a viewing party again at Dignity Health Sports Park at Legends Plaza. The event is free and open to the public. All fans are encouraged to bring their own seating. Food trucks will be on site. Drink specials include 12 oz Modelo and Corona for $5 and Michelada for $8. Fans may not bring their own alcohol. The clear bag policy is enforced.

Entertainment includes DJ Vick One, the LA Galaxy Star Squad, and Cozmo.

Cozmo poses for photos with fans. Photo Credit: Michelle Huitink

Fans are also given a 20% discount on player products at the LA Galaxy Team Store. There will be a silent auction on site.

Hundreds of fans turned out to the Watch Party on Sunday Oct. 20th at “the Diggity”

I had the opportunity to participate in Sunday’s Watch Party. I felt more appreciated as a fan on this day than even on Fan Appreciation Day. We were given a t-shirt, a $10 food voucher (after signing up for AARP info) and LA Galaxy themed pins (after recommending a family member or close friend as a season ticket member).

At the LA Galaxy Foundation booth, there were tins with secret contents for $20, some of which included a fanny pack, an autographed locker name, or a signed movie-themed poster featuring one of the star players. Unfortunately, the tin was not included. There were other fun festivities such as raffles, and a spin-the-wheel for a chance to get a Galaxy Koozie, pop socket, or key chains.

Fans received a free t-shirt voucher upon entering Legends Plaza. Photo Credit: Michelle Huitink
LA Galaxy Foundation featuring cellular auction and $20 mystery prizes. Photo Credit: Michelle Huitink
Spin-a-wheel for free items. Photo Credit: Michelle Huitink
Yours truly with her haul of pins and a Koozie (pop socket not pictured). Photo Credit: Michelle Huitink
Your official LA Galaxy reporter for MLS Female, Michelle Huitink. Michelle is wearing a shirt with Lletget’s name on the back and believes it brought luck for him to score and will be wearing the shirt again Thursday. Photo Credit: Delmy Barillas.

I couldn’t help but reflect on being a part of previous playoffs and ultimate MLS Cup wins at home in 2011, 2012, and 2014. I know we fans have been deprived of this exhilarating feeling for two seasons. It’s good to be back with such a stellar roster, whose reputations exceed the club’s name, and to have a real chance at adding a sixth star to our jersey. We get to witness history again, and I hope the Galaxy can bring the competition home.

Featured image: LA Galaxy 

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @mchuitink

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Weekly Roundup: El Trafico, Dio Returns, Playoff Rally

Official LAFC Reporter

By Araceli Villanueva // @Aracelv1

Playoffs Week is here!

El Trafico is coming back to the Banc for the Western Conference Semifinals.

Minnesota United fell to the LA Galaxy last night in a 2-1 loss at Allianz Stadium – advancing the Galaxy to the semifinals.

LAFC will host the much anticipated matchup on Thursday, October 24 at 7:30 PST.

Dio returns!

Major League Soccer reinstated Adama Diomande this past week. And he is eligible for selection for Thursday’s intense matchup.

Dio voluntarily entered MLS’ Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health (SABH) program on September 20 and was assessed by SABH program doctors.

He has been cleared to resume all team activities, including competition. Dio was even seen training with the team last weekend during a special event for the fans.

Roster Injury Updates

  • Six minutes into Canada’s Concacaf Nations League match last Tuesday, Mark-Anthony Kaye exited with an apparent leg injury. Although it has not been determined what type of injury the midfielder has acquired – Kaye is on a day-to-day basis as he continues to receive treatment.
  • Walker Zimmerman suffered a concussion after colliding with Colorado Rapids forward Kei Kamara in LAFC’s 3-1 win over the Rapids on Decision Day. The injury kept the defender out of international duty with the U.S. Men’s National Team. According to Vince La Rosa, Zimmerman returned to full training last Wednesday and needs to get in as “many training sessions as possible to regain his fitness level” ahead of the playoffs.

The hype surrounding the playoffs is real!

LAFC players have been making numerous appearances around town all week in celebration of the upcoming playoffs.

Fans also attended a playoffs rally last night at the Banc to show their support for the Black & Gold.

Fans had the opportunity to enjoy live music, games, drink and food specials, and take photos with the Supporters’ Shield. They were also able to write a message for the players on the special “#ForLosAngeles” wall.

LAFC goes virtual

The club announced its official entry into eMLS, Major League Soccer’s competitive gaming league competing in the EA SPORTS™ FIFA franchise on October 17.

LAFC will host an “online selection qualifying tournament” in search of the club’s first-ever esports player to represent the club in eMLS competitions.

There will be three qualifying round competitions that will take place on October 26, November 1, and November 3 – top performers in the first three rounds will square off in the final on Wednesday, November 6.

Gold Links

Featured Image:  LAFC

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @Aracelv1

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LA Galaxy Rivalry Round-Up and Aftermath

Official LA Galaxy Reporter

By Michelle Huitink // @mchuitink

Friday, July 19: 3-2 win

Saturday, July 27: 4-0 loss

Rivalry week started rough and made LA Galaxy fans nervous to face Los Angeles Football Club after losing to San Jose Earthquakes at home on June 29th. But, that game was soon to be forgotten.

On July 19, LA Galaxy were down early after LAFC’s Carlos Vela scored a penalty. Then Blue, White, and Gold roared to life with a Zlatan hat trick. The team played with the passion and urgency that fans had called for. The energy at the stadium was loud and intense.  LA Galaxy ended up winning 3-2.

Critics say LA Galaxy shouldn’t rely on a single player, namely Zlatan Ibrahimovic, but that day all of the Galaxy players worked well together to feed the ball to Zlatan and create chances. Even the defense held it together despite Vela scoring a late goal (that should have been called offside and gone to VAR).

The game against LAFC proves that Zlatan works well when the team plays well together.

The same line-up from El Tráfico was used against Portland Timbers, but this time Perry Kitchen and Sebastian Lletget were back from injuries. Efrain Alvarez was also available on the bench. 

Lineups:

LA Galaxy: David Bingham; Diego Polenta, Giancarlo Gonzalez, Daniel Steres, Rolf Feltscher; Uriel Antuna (Emmanuel Boateng 80’), Julian Araujo (Sebastian Lletget 56’), Jonathan dos Santos, Joe Corona, Favio Alvarez (Efrain Alvarez 69’); Zlatan Ibrahimovic ©.

Substitutions not used: Matt Lampson, Dave Romney, Perry Kitchen, Jorgen Skjelvik.

The Timbers punished the Galaxy for problems that have plagued them for most of this season (and the past two seasons if we’re being completely honest).

After defeating LAFC, fans hoped the Galaxy had made a turning point, but the match at Providence Park, this late in the season, brought to reality fans’ concerns. If Galaxy’s inconsistent play and dropping points continues this team won’t make the playoffs again this year. 

Fans are looking to head coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto for answers and are holding him accountable. But, not much responsibility has really been taken and there aren’t any solid solutions in sight. 

Rumors that Cristian Pavón would join during transfer week and save the Galaxy have been dispelled. One man cannot and should not carry the team. We see that when they rely too much on Zlatan. The tactic of feeding the lion only worked against LAFC because the entire team came out with a fighting heart and spirit. 

But, again, they’re inconsistent. There are times when it looks like the defense doesn’t want to play. An attacking midfield would be highly essential to Galaxy living up to their potential and success. Jonathan Dos Santos did not play well on Saturday, but he is the strongest in the midfield. Though understandably frustrated, it’s no excuse and not a good look when the captain and co-captain don’t stay to talk to the media.  It begs the question: Who is leading this team?

David Bingham came up with major saves once again and kept the Galaxy in the game most of the time. But, he’s one man and has his limits, often getting scored on by rebounds. That night in Rose City, it was the defense and midfield that could be blamed for the loss.

This game against Portland saw the Galaxy losing possession and being taken advantage of on counter attacks. 

Turf is no excuse. The next matches are in Atlanta and Seattle, both of which are turf stadiums. The Galaxy will have to adjust. 

Lack of bench depth and players not being on their A-game also contributed to the Gs’ struggle.  Lletget hasn’t had a good game in a while, so why wasn’t Perry Kitchen the sub of choice? 

The Galaxy were outplayed, which wasn’t the case against San Jose, per se. It was a physical match that seemed to become a competition for which side could get more yellow cards. 

Ibrahimovic, Diego Polenta, and Efrain Alvarez will all be suspended for the next match – Polenta and E. Alvarez due to being issued red cards, Ibrahimovic due to yellow card accumulation.

LA Galaxy sit in third place in the western conference.  They have their moments when they play as well on the pitch as they look on paper. It doesn’t matter how capable the team is if they don’t deliver though. 

They’re on the road to face Atlanta United on August 3 and then D.C. United on August 11th. Their next home match is August 14 against FC Dallas. 

With this season already runs a tight schedule, the Galaxy lost in their second round of Open Cup to Portland, but managed to move on to semi finals in the Leagues Cup and are the only MLS team still in. They’re set to face Cruz Azul on August 20th at Dignity Health Sports Park.  Then 5 days later, they have to be ready to face LAFC again.

Featured image: LA Galaxy Instagram

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @mchuitink

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LA Galaxy vs. LAFC: Match Preview

Official LAFC Reporter

By Araceli Villanueva // @Aracelv1

Where: Dignity Health Sports Complex, Carson, Calif.

When: Friday, July 19th, 7:00 p.m. PT.

How to watch: ESPN, ESPNLA 710, KFWB 980

The highly anticipated fourth chapter of El Trafico is finally here and it’s time to blackout Carson once more!

Following a successful road trip in Houston, the Los Angeles Football Club will travel a grueling twelve miles (two hours by LA traffic) to visit the LA Galaxy – who are currently in third place – in search of their first win of the series.

Going into its second year of “El Trafico,” LAFC is currently 0-1-2. And the league leaders have proven to be a force to be reckoned with as they continue to cross out rivals off the list. With Carlos Vela and Zlatan back in lineup for their club, respectively. This is a match you won’t want to miss.

Image courtesy of MLSSoccer.com

It seems all odds are in favor for the black-and-gold. However, Steven Beitashour and Jordan Harvey should still be on high alert of not only Zlatan but prevent Uriel Antuna; from getting close on the wings. Antuna had strong performances while with Mexico in the Gold Cup, including a hat trick against Cuba. But he still does not level up to Diego Rossi.

Although Bob Bradley has been testing the waters lately with a slightly altered rotation for each match, I predict he will field a full-strength roster. Hopefully, with Tristian Blackmon back in the center back position. And Mohammad El-Munir, Dejan Jaković, and Peter Lee-Vassell on the bench.

Eduard Atuesta will likely rejoin the roster after serving his yellow card suspension in Houston. And his presence could without a doubt be the match’s game-changer for the black-and-gold, especially as he pairs up with Mark-Anthony Kaye and Latif Blessing in the midfield.

El Trafico, El Clasico, the 12-Mile derby?

No matter how you phrase it. It’s no secret, there is a deep-seeded rivalry between both clubs especially, with the fourth installment of “El Trafico” around the corner in its second year. To help get a deeper insight, I interviewed my colleague at MLSFemale and LA Galaxy reporter, Michelle Huitink.

Araceli Villanueva: It seems the Galaxy has been on a rocky roller coaster ride in their last few matches, recently falling to San Jose this past weekend, how are they expecting to turn things around for Friday’s rally?

Michelle Huitink: I think the Galaxy just needs some rest and have key players back in good shape. Antuna and Dos Santos had just returned from international duty. And Diego Polenta was suspended due to yellow card accumulation. Hopefully, Perry Kitchen and Sebastian Lletget can recover in time. The Galaxy knows how important this game is.

They weren’t necessarily outplayed when they were away in San Jose, and they won at home against Toronto FC, but this last match was worrisome. David Bingham came up huge with 13 saves. But I hope it exposed the defense weaknesses in time for them to tighten up and get it together to play against LAFC. The big problem seems to be lack of leadership and heart, so hopefully, morale and passion can be re-ignited so they’ll step it up for this Friday’s match. 

AV: With Jonathan Dos Santos and Uriel Antuna back from international duty – should we expect the Galaxy’s roster to be at full strength or who could be potentially missing the match? 

MH: Anything is possible. I don’t want to see Emmanuel Boateng start because, despite his hustle, he can’t get the cross nor finish in front of the net. But if he does, I’d bring Efrain Alvarez in as a spark off the bench. Hopefully, we will have a full roster. As much as I’d like to see Dave Romney start – Jorgen Skjelvik is a guy you know you can count on in the backline for a match like this. Daniel Steres has earned his spot. He is consistent, can win 1v1 situations and is overall a great defender. And Giancarlo Gonzalez is also a key player; having had some wild defending in the past. Efrain Alvarez can be a real threat. Jonathan in the midfield is legit lethal as a playmaker and a goal scorer. I would like to see Antuna bring that Gold Cup action on the pitch Friday. The Galaxy doesn’t lack talent on paper. And we’ve seen that they can gel well as a team.

As much as I’d like to say it doesn’t matter who we play or because of the rivalry, regardless it’s important at this point in the season for the Galaxy to win. They’ve slipped to 3rd place. So I feel like the fans have been let down and feel uneasy how the team is going to perform. The best START is for Galaxy to show up for El Traffico like they mean it. 

AV: What is your take on the Zlatan yellow card controversy and MLS’ odd explanation for it?

MH: There just needs to be consistency across MLS. Apparently, the yellow against him for the [Sean] Johnson incident doesn’t count. It is what it is. Besides I’d like to think LAFC would want to face a full roster – whatever the case. 

AV: Friday marks the fourth meeting between both rivals. Now in its second year, are fans more hyped for the rivalry? And what additional precautions have the club made for Dignity Park?

MH: There’s definitely going to be heightened awareness and security. They have made it so that there’s no [general admission]. Everyone has an assigned seat. Fans are definitely hyped. For a Friday, I know many are still planning to tailgate, most likely leaving work early. There’s always a concern for hooliganism. 

Bonus question: What is your score prediction?

MH: 2-1. My score prediction is LA Galaxy win but by one goal. If the Galaxy can score early, I think there’s going to be quite the struggle. I don’t really see based on the Galaxy’s past matches that they can keep LAFC from scoring. The club can get shots, it’s the finish that they’ll have to nail. David Bingham should be on top of his game.

Featured Image: Pro Soccer USA

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @Aracelv1

Check us out on Instagram @mlsfemale

LA Galaxy Can’t Be Beat in Regular Season Derby

Michelle Huitink - LA Galaxy/mlsfemale
Official LA Galaxy Reporter

By Michelle Huitink // @mchuitink

Starting XI

David Bingham; Rolf Feltscher, Jorgen Skjelvik, Dave Romney; Chris Pontius, Perry Kitchen, Servando Carrasco, Ashley Cole ©; Sebastian Lletget; Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Ola Kamara.

Bench

Justin Vom Steeg, Daniel Steres, Sheanon Williams, Baggio Husidic, Bradford Jamieson IV, Emmanuel Boateng, Ariel Lassiter.

The Los Angeles Galaxy and Los Angeles Football Club faced off for their third match this season in a battle for the city in front of 27,068 fans on August 24th. This was a highly anticipated match and was aired on ESPN.

So, what new insights came out of this past Friday’s game and result?

The LA Galaxy played to their potential. The first half was every fan’s dream. The defense was on point, and there was even a Zlatan Ibrahimovic goal in the 15th minute, which had to be reviewed. LAFC’s Danilo Silva slid into the net to keep the ball out, but upon VAR the ball had in fact crossed the goal line. This was the first time in what felt like all season where VAR did not rule against the Galaxy.

The Galaxy continued to come on strong. Ashley Cole captained as usual and got a rolling tackle to stop LAFC’s Carlos Vela’s run near the corner of their pitch in the 37th minute.

Unfortunately, the Galaxy still couldn’t maintain their lead. A penalty kick was given up in the first few minutes of the second half. With that, Vela had made it 1-1. It wouldn’t be El Tráfico without some conflict.

From then on, it seemed the Galaxy had deflated and were running on fumes. LAFC tried to be too fancy and couldn’t finish. David Bingham made a crucial save to keep the game level in the 72nd minute. The other issue was, Ibrahimovic was only one goal away from 500 in his career, so the Galaxy kept trying to feed him goals rather than take the shot themselves.

Still, it was great to see Sebastian Lletget back to his former fitness level. He was on fire and giving 110 percent effort. In the 57th minute, he maintained possession for the Galaxy and got the ball to Ola Kamara, but it just wasn’t enough and ended up with a goal kick from Tyler Miller.

Having Rolf Feltscher back also made a big difference.

Coach Sigi Schmid’s sub choices were questionable at times. Ariel Lassiter could be seen warming up but wasn’t brought on. The Galaxy could have used Emmanuel Boateng’s speed, but he also wasn’t brought in. Schmid had no choice but to sub off Dave Romney in the 89th minute, and he decided to bring in Daniel Steres, which only makes sense because he’s not going to replace a highly paid defender with a college-aged kid. The best decision he made for fresh legs was to bring in Bradford Jamieson IV for Servando Carrasco.

Chris Pontius and Lletget both had clear chances and didn’t take any shots. All attempts on goal became predictable. The Galaxy kept giving too many chances to LAFC late in the game. Nearly every defender on the Galaxy had earned a yellow card that night.

Michelle Huitink - LA Galaxy/mlsfemale
Pontius with the Galaxy throw-in during the second half. Photo Credit: Michelle Huitink

The third installment ended in a 1-1 draw, which gave the Galaxy the edge and kept them undefeated against LAFC.

Security at StubHub was amped up with police on horses, a helicopter, and the sheriff’s department, but luckily the rest of the evening was uneventful.

Michelle Huitink - LA Galaxy/mlsfemale
Extra police presence at StubHub. Photo Credit: Leslie Chavez

At the end of a draining rivalry week, the LAG are winless this month and are now in 6th place, technically tied with the Sounders for 5th with 38 points. LAG’s problem is they bled goals in other matches. To make the playoffs, they need to get at least 12 points over the remaining 7 games of the regular season. Their next two matches are on the road.

Their next match is against Real Salt Lake on September 1, 2018. Kickoff is at 7pm.

The Galaxy are back home at StubHub on September 23rd against the Seattle Sounders.

Featured image of LA Galaxy warmup: Michelle Huitink

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @mchuitink

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Stalemate at StubHub: LAFC 1, LA Galaxy 1

Araceli Villanueva - LAFC/mlsfemale
Official LAFC Reporter

By Araceli Villanueva // @Aracelv1

Los Angeles Football Club drew their second of three matches this season against the Los Angeles Galaxy, drawing 1-1 to their LA neighbors at the StubHub Center. Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Carlos Vela scored both goals of the night.

LAFC started the third edition of El Trafico in a tense twenty minutes, as Danilo Silva most notably started alongside Walker Zimmerman in defense in lieu of Laurent Ciman. The pair hadn’t played alongside each other since June but seemed to mesh well. However, Silva was quick to grab his hamstring just a few seconds into the match, showing signs of an apparent injury. Silva would push through until the 23rd minute when he was substituted out early for Dejan Jakovic.

Ciman was notably absent from the 18-man squad and not listed on the injury report. ESPN’s Taylor Twellman reported during the match that Ciman may have offers from elsewhere and was not deemed to be focused enough to play.

The home side would draw first in the 16th minute when Zlatan’s shot rolled over the line before LAFC could clear it out. It appeared Silva cleared it out. VAR confirmed this and awarded the Galaxy the goal after the play was reviewed.

Tyler Miller constantly found himself in a 1v1 situation against Zlatan and did well to prevent the Swede from earning his 500th career goal.

The black-and-gold leveled early the second half in the 50th minute, when Diego Rossi found Vela in the left side of the box. Perry Kitchen clipped Vela inside the box, and gave LAFC the chance to equalize with a penalty. Vela converted the penalty and got LAFC back on track.

The remainder of the half proved to be frustrating for both sides, as they created multiple opportunities but failed to capitalize. Shortly after the penalty, Eduard Atuesta found Benny Feilhaber and Feilhaber decided to try to go around Bingham, instead of scoring head on in a 1v1 situation. This would cost Feilhaber as Bradley subbed him out for André Horta soon after.

Although LAFC had periods where they seemed to dominate possession and get more dangerous chances, the whistle blew before LAFC could put one more goal in the back of the net, concluding the third edition in yet, another draw.

LAFC will continue their run on the road when they travel to BMO Field to face Toronto FC on Saturday, September 1.

Featured image: Tyler Miller Instagram

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