Ever since they first met in 2018, the intensity of the rivalry between Los Angeles Football Club and the Galaxy has been undeniable from near and far.
Defender Ryan Hollingshead hasn’t played in any of the clubs 13 fixtures, but as far as he is concerned, in terms of rivalries in MLS, “I don’t think there’s anything like that.”
A native of Dallas, where he played for eight years before being acquired by LAFC on an offseason trade, Hollingshead was like other players in the league who stopped to pay attention at the time of the Los Angeles Derby.
“It’s hands down the most respected derby in the league,” he said. “You don’t know what all this means for the city until you’re here to talk to the fans, the club and the organisation, but you can feel the passion of the games even watching them from across the country. .”
For Kellyn Acosta, Ilie Sanchez, Max Crepeau and other LAFC newcomers, the weekend showdown has been on the mind since they signed to play in Black & Gold.
“It’s huge for our organization,” Crepeau said after his team’s 4-2 win in Orlando last week kept them atop the league with a 4-0-1 record and 13 points.
“These two stadiums are so close. Rivals since day one of the first game between the two organizations. So the fan base is looking forward to it. We’re waiting impatiently. As players, we all know there’s a little spark in the air when kick-off begins.
The Galaxy handed LAFC their first competitive loss in their inaugural meeting, the stunning 4-3 comeback led by Zlatan Ibrahimovic in March 2018, and have bragging rights thanks to a season-high 5-2-5 record. regular. LAFC won the only playoff game between the two.
Over the past four years under head coach Bob Bradley, LAFC has failed to win at Carson, losing four and tying two.
“We want to change that and feel we have the team this year to do that,” Hollingshead said.
After five games unbeaten to open the 2022 season, Steve Cherundolo considers his first derby game as head coach “important for the club to succeed – so it’s an opportunity. And I think it’s on That’s what we should be focusing on. Focus on the feeling of winning the game there and what you’ll feel after that – those are emotions and images that I would like my players to have in their minds.
“Having players who haven’t been part of it in the past can be good. It can also hurt you.
As for the spectacle, the pressure and the emotional reaction to the moment in relation to doing what is necessary in practice and play to accomplish one’s mission, experience has taught him “it’s about being able to speak of the two at the right times of the week” to get the team where he wants them before stepping onto the pitch against the Galaxy.
For players experienced in the rivalry, Uruguayan midfielder Pancho Ginella said, the wait for ‘El Trafico’ is a mix of adrenaline and anxiety.
“Emotionally, it has the potential to set us up for success and also give us a strong internal atmosphere,” Ginella said.
The Galaxy (3-2-0, 9 points) lead the league in shots on target and appear to have improved defensively from last year’s porous team, giving up fourth-fewest shots on target in MLS so far.
Saturday’s game is expected to pit LAFC captain Carlos Vela against close friend and fellow Mexican star Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, who last shared the pitch in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Round of 16.
Each have scored four goals in five appearances this season, with Vela adding two assists.
“I hope both perform at a very high level, but Carlos has a bit more than Chicharito,” Cherundolo said. ” It is my wish. But there are also 20 other players on the pitch with a lot of quality and that’s what the game will be decided on, not just two.
LAFC in GALAXY
When: 4:30 p.m. Saturday
Or: Dignity Health Sports Park, Carson
TV/Radio: FOX 11, FOX Deportes / 710 AM, ESPN App, 980 AM