CARSON, Calif. -- LAFC started their rivalry clash against the LA Galaxy in the best possible fashion, opening up a lead in the 4th minute at Dignity Health Sports Park on Friday, but from there it all came tumbling down as they lost by a 3-2 scoreline.
LAFC held the advantage in shots taken and possession, but the game never felt like one they were controlling.
“Ultimately I don’t think we were sharp enough in the chances that we created,” defender Walker Zimmerman would go on to say after the match. “We’ve been executing our style of play all year, and that’s stepping up counter press, being aggressive, getting numbers on the ball and then being able to pass and move and break lines.”
The Black & Gold paid the price for missing their precious chances.
Off the ensuing goal kick only a matter of seconds after Diego Rossi’s shot rattled the woodwork in the second half with LAFC behind 2-1, Zlatan Ibrahimovic got onto the ball in space following a stellar backheel from Favio Alvarez and completed his hat trick that delivered the win for the home side.
Late into stoppage time, Carlos Vela grabbed his second goal of the night, to continue his blistering scoring tear for the season, but it was a mere consolation in the end.
Following the defeat, despite his side’s chances, Bob Bradley felt LAFC were missing something else too.
“Overall, their intensity took us out of our game,” he told reporters. “In those ways, we weren’t good in any part of the game. Our passing was nowhere near good enough, but the intensity changed the game in that regard and we didn’t deal well with it, which you expect in a derby match.”
Vela didn’t shy away from the questions reporters thrust at him after the 3-2 loss, extending LAFC's winless run against the Galaxy to four games.
“[Tonight] is the first time, we play against Galaxy and I feel they play better or they win the battle of the intensity or the duels,” said Vela. “The rest of the games we played much better.”
Zimmerman acknowledged that matching the Galaxy’s intensity should be easier when they play the return leg at Banc of California Stadium next month, but on Friday the Black & Gold faithful who were spread out throughout Dignity Health Sports Park will be left for the first time this season with a strange feeling — losing with their starting XI.
“That’s one game in our long season,” said the USMNT center back after what was only the team’s 3rd loss of the 2019 MLS campaign. “Were going to move past this, move forward with the next game, and get back on track with three points.”