LAFC 3, LA Galaxy 3 | 2019 MLS Match Recap
Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Latif Blessing each scored a brace, Cristian Pavon and Carlos Vela added a goal apiece and the LA Galaxy and LAFC would fight to a 3-3 draw in a wild edition of El Trafico between the sides at Banc of California Stadium on Sunday.
The match was a frantic, action-packed affair from the start, with Ibrahimovic finding the opener just after kickoff and scoring his second of the game in the 15th minute to help spearhead the Galaxy to a 3-1 first-half lead. But LAFC would fight back for the draw thanks to the pair of tallies from Blessing and a 53rd-minute strike from Vela, forcing the sides to split the points.
Ibrahimovic got the Galaxy off to the dream start in just the second minute after collecting a feed from Pavon and lashing a perfectly placed, left-footed finish past LAFC goalkeeper Tyler Miller to give the visitors the early lead and shock the home crowd.
The home side would find its leveler in short order, however, after Diego Rossi got on the end of a pinpoint cross from Steven Beitashour and found Blessing for a headed finish past Bingham at the far post in the 12th minute. But Ibrahimovic added a second on a breakaway tally set up by Efrain Alvarez in the 15th before Pavon struck for the Galaxy's third just one minute after that to cap off the wild start to the match.
The 3-1 scoreline would hold until first-half stoppage time, when Blessing collected a deflection off a Galaxy defender, rounded Bingham and slotted home his second of the evening, cutting the deficit to one goal as the match hit halftime.
The madness would continue into the second half, as Vela found his 27th goal of the season in the 53rd minute after sliding behind the Galaxy back line to collect a feed from Mark-Anthony Kaye and coolly cashing home the finish past Bingham to draw LAFC level. Vela would be subbed off just eight minutes later, though, after sustaining a hamstring injury, leaving the Mexican international visibly upset as he came off the field.
Neither club would manage to strike again before the final whistle despite a couple of good chances at the game-winner from both sides, sealing the 3-3 final.
- 2' - LA - Zlatan Ibrahimovic | WATCH
- 12' - LAFC - Latif Blessing | WATCH
- 15' - LA - Zlatan Ibrahimovic | WATCH
- 16' - LA - Cristian Pavon | WATCH
- 45' +1 - LAFC - Latif Blessing | WATCH
- 53' - LAFC - Carlos Vela | WATCH
- THE BIG PICTURE: Both sides will be disappointed to not come away with all three points, but from a neutral perspective, this derby continues to live up to its billing as must-see TV, with plenty of goals and back-and-forth action to be found once again in Sunday's contest. The Galaxy remain a worthy foil for their main rivals, as LAFC have still yet to top them in MLS play in five chances. For LAFC, they did well to come back and level the match two separate times, but the real story here is the status of Vela and the severity of the hamstring injury that led to his early substitution.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Ibrahimovic's opener set the tone for all the action that would follow, and it was notably assisted by Pavon in a highlight that the Galaxy will hope is a sign of things to come from what certainly has the makings of a dynamic partnership.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: It didn't come in a victory this time, but Zlatan just keeps tormenting LAFC, with the pair of goals giving him five on the season in El Trafico matches after his epic hat trick on July 19. The superstar striker continues to revel in his role as his rivals' arch-nemesis, too, striking a lengthy pose in front of the home crowd's 3252 supporters group after his second tally.