LOS ANGELES — With both of MLS’s Southern California clubs earning dramatic late victories in their home openers this weekend, it wasn’t going to take long before conversation about the regional rivalry came to the fore.
They just weren’t aimed at the night's opponent.
“I’m ending El Trafico,” LAFC head coach Bob Bradley announced.
2018’s three LAFC-LA Galaxy fixtures were among the best and most memorable in the regular season.
There were great goals. There was passionate support. There was drama and subtext and all the makings of real-deal, no-fabrication rivalry.
“Leagues get judged by the number of really good games, leagues get judged by the quality of the football, the tempo of games, the intensity of games,” Bradley said during his postgame press conference Sunday night, at once talking about the win over Sporting and last year’s contests with the Galaxy.
“We’re long past the idea where we judge games just where if there’s goals it’s a good game and if there’s no goals it’s a bad game. We are now, as a football nation, we understand better and we need as many good games and when you have good games, that means you’ll have good rivalries.”
And good rivalries deserve good names. Bradley isn't a fan of the "El Trafico" name that took off in 2018 and wasn't afraid to re-christen it.
“It’s LA Clasico. L-A. La Clasico,” said Bradley, anointing the rivalry a new name that plays on the city’s Spanish-speaking heritage with an intentional grammar-rule-breaking article swap.
The LAFC boss capped off his speech on the rivalry name with a direct appeal: “Throw that El Trafico thing out the f—in window.”
LAFC talisman Carlos Vela agreed with his manager when it came to the new name for the derby. “I like it because there are a lot of Latin people in L.A. so we feel it,” the LAFC captain said without hesitation. “That’s good. Well, sometimes Bob has good ideas.”