Image: Robert Mora, LA Galaxy II
A Los Angeles Galaxy side spurred on by debutant striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic won 4-3 in the first ever “El Trafico” derby against Los Angeles FC after going down 3-0 early in the second half. The MLS match at the StubHub Center with over 27,000 fans present was dubbed by many one of the greatest matches in MLS history.
Then, with considerably less fanfare and pizazz, LA Galaxy II and San Antonio FC played to a scoreless draw on the exact same patch of grass. Both teams mustered four shots on goal between them, the same number the Galaxy first team scored earlier.
“Earning a clean sheet was one of the goals for this week and we’re glad to have accomplished that, but we all feel like we could’ve gotten more out of the game,” said SAFC midfielder and captain Ryan Roushandel. “None of us are satisfied with the result of the game, but we’ll take the positives out of it and build on that.”
Adapting for injuries both old and new, SAFC trotted out in a balanced and capable lineup.
Both sides sussed each other out in the early stages. Nearing the midway point of the first half, SAFC was handed a solid chance to take the lead in the 21st minute as forward Ever Guzman was taken down in the 18-yard box and won a penalty kick after receiving a pass from midfielder Sonny Guadarrama. However, Los Dos goalkeeper Wade Hamilton (who appeared to step forward from the goal line) parried Guzman’s spot-kick and the chance evaporated.
The chance livened up the match and both sides pushed for a goal in the latter stages of the half, but nobody managed to find it.
The two sides returned to the pitch after halftime and continued to probe each other, but it would take nearly 15 minutes for the first real chance of the second half, which tried to restore some sense of liveliness. Los Dos midfielder Geoffrey Acheampong drove up the center of the pitch and fired a rocket of a shot which rebounded off the crossbar.
SAFC midfielder Mikey Lopez continued his eventful start to life at SAFC when he was sent off for two yellow cards Saturday. Lopez had previously scored twice, assisted once and received two yellow cards in SAFC’s first two USL matches. He will miss SAFC’s April 7 home match against Swope Park Rangers and is now only one more caution away from being suspended for yellow card accumulation.
A couple late attempts at lighting up the scoreboard for either side were snuffed out and both left the pitch with one point apiece.
“We finished the game with 10 men, but the guys worked extremely hard.” said SAFC Head Coach Darren Powell. “It’s good to earn a point away from home.”
It would have been hard to come even close to the excitement of the preceding match, and there was much less riding on the clash between the two USL sides. SAFC is content with a point on the road and Los Dos are looking steady after a rough 2017.