LOS ANGELES, Calif. – Los Angeles FC and LA Galaxy played in the first ever playoff El Trafico and possibly the most anticipated playoff game in recent MLS history. This was their sixth meeting ever, with Adama Diomande and company having never beat their crosstown rivals and a birth in the Western Conference Finals on the line.
Galaxy Conquered: Diego Rossi, LAFC Defeat LA Galaxy, Host WCF
The visitors had the better start in the first half but were unable to score early. The crosstown rivals traded shots off the post in the first 15 minutes. Cristian Pavon had a shot from outside the box that caught Tyler Miller flatfooted. Carlos Vela shot a free kick off the post that David Bingham was late too.
Vela opened the scoring in the 16th minute. Off a turnover in the midfield, LAFC advanced the ball quickly and Diego Rossi set up Vela for the shot across goal.
LAFC made it 2-0 in the 40th minute having been the better side to that point. Again, quick passing set up for a two man breakaway with Brian Rodriguez squaring the ball to Vela for the open goal tap in. Broadcast replays showed Rodriguez possibly offside, but the goal stood without review.
Moments after kick-off, the Galaxy got one back. Zlatan Ibrahimovic held the ball up at the top of the box, then found a passing lane to set Pavon on goal unmarked to score. The half ended 2-1.
The second half took a familiar turn. Steven Beitashour passed the ball back to his goalkeeper in the 55th minute. Ibrahimovic was able to intercept and set himself up for a half volley. The shot was right at Miller but he let it slip through his legs and in.
What followed was utter madness. Both sides made subs and traded chance after chance in an end-to-end heavy weight fight. Transition play was key as Rossi got space on Giancarlo Gonzalez in the 66th minute. Vela found him and he was able to beat Bingham and bank the ball off the bottom of the far post and in.
Two minutes later, an LAFC counter attack off transition in midfield led to a gorgious goal with Adama Diomande heading the ball into an open goal from yards out. The Galaxy couldn’t backtrack and Gonzalez and Bingham were hung out to dry.
The Galaxy made it 4-3 in the 77th minute off the first set piece goal of the game. Substitutes connected as Romain Alessandrini crossed the ball to an unmarked Rolf Feltscher who headed the ball, strolling towards goal. The Black and Gold responded three minutes later as Diomande dribbled the ball on goal and picked out the bottom corner to make it 5-3.
The match ended 5-3 with the Galaxy unable to finish despite several chances in the final minutes.
2⃣ MINUTES, 2⃣ GOALS!
— LAFC (@LAFC) October 25, 2019
Three Takeaways: Adama Diomande and More:
Rested vs. Weary: The time off was a big factor in this game. LAFC has over two weeks off having clinched a first round bye. LA Galaxy on the other side played on Sunday on the road. They, especially the defense and Zlatan, looked gassed in the final half hour. The Galaxy defense was overrun for long stretches and ultimately was their undoing, like a Greek Tragedy.
Adama Diomande conquers Galaxy defense: Diomande ended up with the game winner in this game and a brace off the bench. That’s amazing given just a month ago he was in the league’s voluntary substance abuse program.
Onto the Conference Finals: The best team ever in MLS got the biggest signature win of their two year history. They’ve vanquished their demons and will host an imperfect Seattle Sounders in the conference finals. Should they win, they will host MLS Cup. Anything less at this point has to be considered a disappointment and failure.