Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez and Sega Coulibaly scored in the first half for host LA Galaxy in a hard-fought 2-1 win over rivals LAFC on Saturday at Dignity Health Sports Park.
Led 2-1 and responsible for most of the pressure in the second half, LAFC (4-1-1, 13 points) was finally rewarded in the 79th minute. Cristian Arango was in perfect position to bring home the rebound from a Carlos Vela shot to make things interesting.
It then emerged that Latif Blessing leveled the game for the visitors in the eighth minute of stoppage time, but a somewhat questionable video review led to an offside decision.
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Moments later, the final whistle sounds on another classic Traffic. The Galaxy (4-2-0, 12 points) improved to 6-3-5 on aggregate against crosstown rivals and 5-0-2 at home. This game also marked the first time Mexican legends and longtime friends Hernandez and Vela faced each other in an MLS game.
While Vela was the aggressor with two quality chances in the opening minutes, Hernandez fired up the home crowd with the game’s first goal. Less than 15 minutes later, Samuel Grandsir floated the ball to the top corner farthest from the penalty area, where ‘Chicharito’ headed it on a rebound past out-of-position LAFC goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau for his fifth of the season.
Vela almost equalized twice in five minutes in the first half. In the 23rd he had only Galaxy keeper Jonathan Bond to beat, but his seemingly easy finish hit the left post. Then in the 28th minute, the video review signals a goal by Vela for offside.
LAFC were frustrated early on as the Galaxy went up 2-0 in the 31st minute. From a free-kick, Grandsir crossed to the end of the box, where Coulibaly leapt up, and beat a slippery Crepeau for a lead the home side clung to until the end.
LAFC, which lost its first game of the season, saw midfielder Brian Rodriguez come off in the 11th minute with an apparent leg problem.