The reigning Supporters' Shield champions beat the LA Galaxy at the MLS is Back Tournament by a commanding 6-2 scoreline, a result made all the more impressive by being without Carlos Vela, the reigning Landon Donovan MLS MVP.
However, Vela's back and raring to go against his club's bitter rival. The Mexican superstar rejoined his teammates in training when they returned from Orlando and hasn't missed a step.
“Carlos is always Carlos," LAFC midfielder Mark-Anthony Kaye told reporters on a video conference call Thursday. "He does things to excite all of us. Even though he wasn’t with us in Orlando, he was working hard. We have full confidence in him. Carlos is Carlos, that’s all it is.”
Vela has been a Galaxy killer during the rivalry, with nine goals and three assists in six El Trafico appearances (including playoffs). He hasn't played a competitive MLS match since March 8, though.
“We know what (Vela) has done over there and how well they play when he’s on the field, but our game plan stays the same," Galaxy midfielder Sebastian Lletget said. "If we do our job, we’ll shut him down.”
Dos Santos, Vela preview El Trafico
The Galaxy were also without a few key players in their lopsided defeat against LAFC in Orlando. Designated Players Jonathan dos Santos (hernia surgery) and Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez (calf injury) were both absent, but one returns for the rematch. Head coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto revealed that Chicharito remains sidelined, while Dos Santos said he's likely only fit for 30 or 40 minutes.
Regardless of who will or won't be on the pitch, the Galaxy are focused on recording their first win of the season. They're currently 0-3-2 and sit bottom of the Western Conference standings.
“We need to treat this game like a derby, we need to prepare to play against a really good team with really good players and coaches," Schelotto said. "What happened before, we don’t need to think about that. We need to think about what’s coming.”
The Galaxy actually twice took the lead in Orlando, both in the first half, before LAFC ran away with three goals after the 75th minute.
“In our last encounter they got the better of us, even if I thought we were the better team for 70 minutes," Lletget said. "We approach every game the same – there’s always a bit of spiciness against this team – but we need to get our first W of the year. That’s all we’re focused on.”