LA Galaxy roar back for 2-2 draw with LAFC in rivalry series
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Ola Kamara scored in the 86th minute, and the LA Galaxy rallied from a late two-goal deficit for a 2-2 draw with Los Angeles FC on Thursday night in another dramatic edition of this newly founded MLS rivalry.
Carlos Vela and Lee Nguyen scored in the first half for LAFC, but Romain Alessandrini answered for the Galaxy in the 82nd minute. Kamara then pounced on a terrible back pass by Andre Horta, a 21-year-old Portuguese designated player making his LAFC debut.
Kamara rounded goalkeeper Tyler Miller and tapped in the tying goal in another lively edition of the Los Angeles derby already dubbed “El Trafico.”
Horta hit the post with a shot moments after his dismal turnover, but neither team could break through in the frantic final minutes.
The rematch nearly lived up to the unforgettable first meeting between the powerhouse Galaxy and expansion LAFC on March 31. That game featured the MLS debut of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who came on as a jetlagged substitute and promptly scored the tying and winning goals in the Galaxy’s astonishing rally from a three-goal deficit for a 4-3 victory.
Ibrahimovic didn’t score in the rematch despite playing the entire game and looking dangerous up front. Instead, LAFC showed off its impressive poise for a first-year club by jumping to an early lead — and the veteran Galaxy showed their impressive capacity for comebacks.
LAFC (10-5-6) remained unbeaten at Banc of California Stadium, and the Galaxy extended their unbeaten run to eight games.
Vela scored his eighth MLS goal on a header in the seventh minute, and Nguyen added his first goal for LAFC on a sneaky free kick later in the first half.
Although this rivalry has only a few months of history, these franchises’ relationship has already acquired a distinct flavor and a palpable edge. Fans of both teams arrived at the downtown stadium long before game time while wearing team colors and singing loudly, albeit with few apparent conflicts.
The North End supporters’ section was in full voice 90 minutes before kickoff, and the 22,000-seat stadium was packed at game time with fans who overcame the rivalry’s namesake LA traffic.
LAFC has received thriving fan support since its opening game from a core of several thousand hard-core fans and many others drawn to the franchise by its impressive marketing and coach Bob Bradley’s attractive style of play. The Galaxy’s support is well-established among the Southland’s 19 million inhabitants after winning a record five MLS titles and employing a long series of superstars from David Beckham to Landon Donovan.
Just as in the first El Trafico, LAFC went ahead early with a dramatic goal from Vela. The Mexican star banged in a header after an excellent cross from Adama Diomande, the Norwegian striker.
LAFC pressed the attack early, to the delight of its fans. Nguyen doubled the lead in the 21st minute with a surgical, speedy free kick that appeared to catch the Galaxy off guard.
Horta, who arrived in Los Angeles from Portugal last month, came on as a second-half substitute shortly after Diomande hit the post in the 76th minute.