LAFC dominated the first half of play in the latest installment of El Trafico, outshooting the Galaxy 14-1 but came away with nothing to show for it. And just like that, the game turned into something more like the Galaxy's stunning win over their rivals back on August 22. The Galaxy struck early in the first half and, after a red card to LAFC's Mark-Anthony Kaye a minute later, went on to score two more and bag their second straight win over their rivals, and fourth straight win overall.
The Galaxy's 52nd-minute opener came after LAFC turned over possession in a tough spot and Galaxy star Cristian Pavon got in behind Latif Blessing, deputizing for the evening at right back, before lobbing a lovely chip over a stranded Pablo Sisniega.
“It’s a bad goal to give up, especially when we had the chances in the first half,” LAFC head coach Bob Bradley told reporters after the game. “And then right after that Mark gives a bad pass and then just goes flying in, red card, and that puts us under pressure for the rest of the game.”
The red card to Kaye came after a crunching late challenge by the Canadian international on Julian Araujo, and opened the door for two more excellent goals from Sebastian Lletget — the first a well-worked set piece on which Bradley said his team needed to do a better job recognizing the possibilities of the situation, and the second a spectacular overhead kick to seal the win late on.
Highlights: Galaxy shut out LAFC again
LAFC, of course, are without two key members of their starting XI due to injury, reigning MVP Carlos Vela and 2019 Best XI midfielder Eduard Atuesta. Without them, Bradley wants to see the rest of his players — and a few in particular — step up to help push the team forward and hold their teammates accountable. He did single out one player, Diego Rossi, as a player who's already shouldering those responsibilities, but made it clear he wants that attitude to permeate throughout the team.
“The main message for group is that in moment when we are facing some tough times, everybody’s got to fight harder,” Bradley said. “We had one big example of doing that tonight, and that was Diego, he was incredible. He kept going. After Mark went off he had the captain’s armband and I was really proud of just the way Diego kept pushing, and now we need to have a team full of guys that can push and fight through a game at that level. …
“The main thing is the need for different guys to take more responsibility. Those guys would be Tristan [Blackmon], that would be Eddie Segura, that would be Mark, and Diego. As I said, Diego’s doing a very good job, but we have to have others — Latif — that now understand when you’re on a good team and you go through a tough stretch, they’ve got to be the one to push the others, and I don’t think we’ve gotten from those guys in the absence of Carlos and Eduard.”