Ethan Zubak and Sebastian Lletget scored a goal in each half as the LA Galaxy earned a 2-0 El Trafico win over an LAFC squad that saw star Carlos Vela exit injured early in the second half Saturday at Banc of California Stadium.
Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez was signed in the offseason to be a central figure in the derby, replacing Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who certainly made his mark. But with Mexico’s all-time leading scorer out with a calf injury, it was Zubak, starting in his place, to put the Galaxy in front in the 26th minute.
After a corner taken shortly, the Southern California native was unmarked in the box and latched onto Julian Araujo’s cross to put a glancing header behind Kenneth Vermeer. It was the Homegrown forward's first MLS goal in his second start since being signed from Los Dos last March.
Lletget doubled the lead in the 54th minute with another unmarked run into the box, a first-time finish off an Araujo cross.
Four minutes later, Vela went off injured, limping off the pitch with an apparent knee injury. The league's reigning MVP opted out of the MLS is Back Tournament to be with his pregnant wife and was playing in his first competitive match in more than five months.
- THE BIG PICTURE: El Trafico never disappoints, and just when you think you’ve got it figured out, a curveball is thrown. High-flying LAFC were the clear favorites, especially after that romp in Orlando, but the Galaxy showed their mettle to earn their first win of the season. It’s a win that could turn around their 2020 season.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Apologies to the goalscorers, but watching the reigning MVP and record Golden Boot presented by Audi winner limp off injured is the lasting moment in this one.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: What a performance from Araujo, the former Galaxy academy star who placed his stamp on his club’s first win of the season with a pair of assists.