- LAFC and Los Angeles Galaxy set for sixth-ever head-to-head matchup in MLS
- Galaxy holds the edge with two wins in the rivalry, to go alongside three draws
- As the best team in the regular season, LAFC established a whole host of league records and are favored to advance
Los Angeles FC rewrote the Major League Soccer record books in 2019, establishing a host of new league marks as it ran away with the Supporters’ Shield given to the league’s best team. However, on only seven occasions in 23 seasons has the winner of that trophy also gone on to win the MLS Cup.
Standing in the way of LAFC in the Western Conference Semifinals is the neighboring Los Angeles Galaxy, with the two teams set to clash for just the sixth time in MLS, with LAFC yet to earn a win in the rivalry.
Los Angeles FC vs Los Angeles Galaxy Betting Odds
|Team||Spread||Moneyline||Total at Bovada|
|Los Angeles FC||-1.5 (+110)||-250||O 3.5 (-120)|
|Los Angeles Galaxy||+1.5 (-130)||+475||U 3.5 (-110)|
*Odds taken on 10/21/19
Zlatan vs. Vela
While soccer is undoubtedly a team sport, the five-game history of this rivalry can almost be distilled down into two players: Zlatan Ibrahimovic of the LA Galaxy, and Carlos Vela of LAFC.
Of the 23 goals scored in El Trafico, as the LAFC-LA Galaxy derby is called, the pair of strikers have scored 15 of them, with Ibrahimovic holding an 8-7 edge over his Mexican rival.
The former Swedish captain needs no introduction, as he’s ensured the spotlight has followed him around almost from his first kick as an MLS player. The tall centre forward has played for some of the world’s biggest clubs, including Barcelona, Juventus, AC Milan and Manchester United. At one point in his career, his teams won eight straight league titles even as he moved from the Dutch league to Serie A, to La Liga and back to Serie A once again. In short, Ibrahimovic is a born winner.
And his strike rate since coming to MLS is almost second to none, with 52 goals in 56 appearances.
Vela’s strike rate isn’t quite as good, with 48 goals in 60 MLS games, but with a single-season record of 34 goals in 2019, he was the leading scorer of the regular season, ahead of Ibrahimovic’s 30.
There Will Be Goals
While Ibrahimovic and Vela are the most likely source of goals on Thursday, there likely won’t be a shortage of balls to pick out of the net.
Neither side has ever kept a clean sheet in the five games they’ve played against each other, with last year’s 1-1 draw representing the lowest-scoring contest in the rivalry. Beyond that there has been a 2-2 and a 3-3 draw, to go along with the Galaxy’s 4-3 and 3-2 victories.
Los Angeles FC vs Los Angeles Galaxy Head-to-Head
LAFC attacked the MLS record book like few other teams in history in 2019. A slew of records fell as it established new marks for most points in a season (72), highest goal differential (+48) and tied the records for fewest losses (4) and most goals in a season (85).
But in just its second year of MLS play, LAFC has never won a playoff game, after losing 3-2 to Real Salt Lake in the opening round last year, and faces a tough opening test this time around.
Los Angeles FC vs Los Angeles Galaxy 2019 Season Statistics
If there’s one thing that might worry LAFC, it’s that the Galaxy was the only side to win away from home in the first round of the playoffs, with the side’s 2-1 win at Minnesota United bucking the trend.
— LA Galaxy (@LAGalaxy) October 21, 2019
However, despite that breakthrough, the Galaxy weren’t all that mighty away from Dignity Health Sports Park during the regular season, going 5-10-2 on the road, with 22 goals scored and 34 conceded.
The Galaxy’s best shot at victory on Thursday will likely come down to whether or not it can score first against LAFC. The Galaxy is 14-2-1 this season when scoring the game’s first goal, but just 3-13-1 when it concedes the first of the game.
Meanwhile, LAFC lost just one home MLS game all season, and that was against the team the Galaxy eliminated in the playoffs’ first round, Minnesota, so it will be confident of grabbing its first win in the El Trafico rivalry and punching its ticket to the Western Conference final.
Pick: LAFC to qualify (-250)
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