LAFC and LA Galaxy uphold the tradition of El Trafico

El Tráfico is an MLS rivalry between the two teams in Los Angeles: Los Angeles Galaxy and the Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC) that started when LAFC kicked off their run at the beginning of the 2018 season. The team’s first match facing each for the first time was on March 31, 2018.

The score of the first game was 4-3 with LA Galaxy prevailing with the win when the local rivals faced each other at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California. Both the LA Galaxy and LAFC play in different stadiums, even though they both play in Los Angeles County and are about 16 minutes away from each other.

LA Galaxy plays its home games at Dignity Health Sports Park. LAFC entertain contests at the Banc of California Stadium, which is near downtown Los Angeles. What has made El Tráfico interesting is that both teams have one of the best forwards in MLS. The best forwards from El Trafico are Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Carlos Vela.

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Los Angeles Football Club forward Carlos Vela in action against the New England Revolution in an LAFC preseason game on April 3, 2021. Photo credit: LAFC

Ironically, Ibrahimovic and Vela both play for opposite teams, bringing renewed vigor to the head-to-head matchups. Vela and Ibrahimovic are the top scorers of El Trafico, making the rivalry even more special. Vela plays for LAFC. Ibahimovic plays with LA Galaxy. When LAFC first joined MLS, team allegiance between the new and old soccer teams varied among the locals.

Seeing the two teams battle each other became an interesting watch. Before the LA Galaxy and LAFC matchups, back in the day, the main rivalry was between the Galaxy and Chivas USA before the latter dissolved.

Both Vela and Ibrahimovic are goal-scoring machines since they score lots of goals from El Trafico. Since LAFC became a club, Vela has scored six games in a row from the 2018 to 2019 season non-stop.

As of 2021, Vela is the top scorer of El Trafico with 10 goals ahead of Zlatan, who has a total of nine goals, putting him one goal behind Vela. Vela and Ibrahimovic both joined MLS in 2018 and took part in El Trafico.

As of today, Vela is still part of El Trafico, whereas Zlatan left El Trafico in 2019 to play for AC Milan. It hasn’t been the same since Zlatan left LA Galaxy. Since Zlatan left, LA Galaxy has had a replacement striker for him and his name is Javier “El Chicarito” Hernández. There will be two rival Mexican forwards-Vela and El Chicharo-that will be part of El Trafico since Zlatan moved on.

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Courtesy photo/AC Milan

LAFC and LA Galaxy have faced each other 11 times, including a game played on May 8. In all competition games in the regular season and in the playoffs, LA Galaxy has recorded five wins. LAFC has three wins. Both teams played to a draw three times. LA Galaxy and LAFC scored 25 goals in all competitions in El Trafico.

Since LAFC and LA Galaxy began facing off against each other, LAFC has never won against LA Galaxy in away games.

It was much better with Zlatan and Vela here since they are both the greatest players from El Trafico and both took part in MLS All-Star games. So far, the 2018-2019 MLS season has the best season to watch El Trafico.

As of today, LAFC and LA Galaxy have been playing for four seasons. Besides the May 8 contest at  Dignity Health Sports Park, LA Galaxy and LAFC have two more games coming up during the MLS 2021 season. Their next two games will be played on Aug. 28 at Banc of California Stadium and on Oct. 3 at Dignity Health Sports Park.

Every season since the 2018 season, the two teams play each other three times since they are in the west conference.

The first game of El Trafico when LAFC and LA Galaxy played each other was one of the best games ever because LA Galaxy won the game with a comeback when they were down 3-0. Both Vela and Zlatan have the best goals ever in the 4-3 match on March 31, 2018.  It is very interesting seeing both Zlatan and Vela scoring the best goals ever.

When they played their playoffs in 2019, it was the best El Trafico game because both teams are making lots of goals in the playoffs playing one round to determine who will qualify for the conference finals.

In July 2019, it was very interesting seeing the best forwards for El Trafico, Vela and Zlatan scoring goals with the score of 3-2 when LA Galaxy took the win. Zlatan scored his first hat-trick in El Trafico.

Photo Image Caption: Los Angeles Football Club forward Carlos Vela. Courtesy photo of LAFC