In another wild, goal-filled edition of El Trafico, the LA Galaxy salvaged a miracle 3-3 draw against LAFC at Banc of California Stadium on Saturday thanks to a last-gasp equalizer from Kevin Cabral.
LAFC were just minutes from snapping their six-game winless run, paced by a brace from Brian Rodriguez, but couldn't see out all three Heineken Rivalry Week points thanks to Cabral's late heroics. Dejan Joveljic made an emphatic entrance to the rivalry for the Galaxy, tallying a brace of his own for his team's other two goals, while Cristian Arango also found the scoresheet with a first-half penalty kick for LAFC.
After LAFC's penalty-kick shout right after kickoff went unheeded, the Galaxy jumped on top 20 minutes in through Joveljic's first MLS goal. The recently acquired Serbian forward pounced on a loose ball after Jesus David Murillo couldn't clear a Julian Araujo cross, chipping the shot over LAFC goalkeeper Tomas Romero and into the net.
LAFC struck back just before halftime, this time getting a penalty-kick call from Chapman after Galaxy defender Niko Hamalainen was whistled for tugging down Arango in front of goal as the two jostled for position on a Diego Palacios cross. That gave Arango the look from the spot, which the Colombian smashed off the post and into the goal for the equalizer.
The match really took off in the second half, as the clubs traded three goals in a frantic eight-minute span. Rodriguez started it off, finding a phenomenal go-ahead goal for LAFC just before the hour-mark. Galaxy goalkeeper Jonathan Bond managed to deny two rocket shots from Rossi, but couldn't stop a vicious close-range strike from the Uruguayan, who cashed it home after making a stellar individual run to evade several Galaxy defenders.
LAFC couldn't hold the lead, as Joveljic equalized just five minutes later via a clinical strike to the far post from inside the area that drew the visitors level in short order. But that scoreline would be short-lived too, as Rodriguez found his brace three minutes later with a rebound finish after Bond made another reaction save on a rocket shot by Palacios.
The Black & Gold couldn't see out the victory, as Cabral pounced on an Araujo cross and cashed home the finish, stunning the home crowd and ensuring another classic contest between the Los Angeles-based clubs ended on level terms.e
- 20' - LA - Dejan Joveljic
- 44' - LAFC - Cristian Arango (PK)
- 58' - LAFC - Brian Rodriguez
- 64' - LA - Dejan Joveljic
- 66' - LAFC - Brian Rodriguez
- 86' - LA - Kevin Cabral
- THE BIG PICTURE: Frantic goal-fests are what we’ve come to expect when these El Trafico rivals meet, and this one certainly didn’t disappoint from a neutral’s perspective. When the dust settled, it’s a draw that will feel like a loss for LAFC, who badly needed all three points for morale purposes amid the club's recent dip in form. The Galaxy still have some issues to work out defensively, but they’ll happily take the comeback road point considering the Western Conference playoff picture.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Cabral's leveler decided the result, but this run and finish from Rodriguez is one of the best goals we've seen in MLS all season. It came as part of a breakout performance from the Uruguay international winger, who has struggled to find consistency since arriving in 2019 from Penarol.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: What a way for Dejan Joveljic to introduce himself to the fans in Los Angeles. The 21-year-old showed why the Galaxy were keen to bring him in as a U22 Initiative signing with two huge goals.
- LAFC: Friday, September 3 vs. Sporting Kansas City | 10 pm ET (UniMas, TUDN, Twitter)