The first El Trafico game of 2019 is in the books, and it's followed the pattern of what happened in the rivalry in 2018.
The LA Galaxy defeated LAFC 3-2 on Friday at Dignity Health Sports Park, a hat trick from Zlatan Ibrahimovic besting a brace by Carlos Vela. The win maintains the Galaxy's form in El Trafico, as they stay unbeaten in four all-time meetings between the clubs (2-0-2).
The first meeting this season echoed the first-ever game between the Southern California sides, when in both cases LAFC took the lead through Vela, before Ibrahimovic stamped his authority on the game to win it. In 2018, Ibrahimovic made his MLS debut in the match and scored a stunning brace to complete a jaw-dropping comeback from 3-0 down to 4-3 winners. On Friday, Vela scored an early penalty but Ibrahimovic got to work quickly, scoring three unanswered goals before Vela bookended the night with his second goal.
Notably, both players, rightly billed as the big superstars entering the match, have backed up their pedigree in the rivalry matches. Each player has scored six goals in four games to date in the L.A. rivalry. Vela has scored in each of the four games, while Ibrahimovic has scored in three games but notched the first hat trick in El Trafico history.