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LAFC vs Galaxy

Sunday, October 3, 2021

5:00 p.m. PT

TV: ESPN, ESPN Deportes

RADIO: 1110 AM ESPN, ESPN App (Audio), KFWB 980 AM

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It is always one of the biggest matches of the year. When LAFC and the Galaxy get together it is always an event – and the two city rivals have created some incredible memories in the short history of the series.

But when the final match-up of 2021 kicks off on Sunday, it will be one of the most important regular season matches ever. Both teams are in the midst of a losing streak – and both teams are desperate for positive results with the playoffs looming.

“We’re not giving up,” LAFC head coach Bob Bradley said. “Our guys are great guys. I see how much they put into it every day. I’m proud of them and I know that right now we are going through a period that seems so unlikely and so incredible.”

The Black & Gold have lost three in a row, and more importantly only won three times in their last 14 matches. But the Galaxy are going through an equally difficult time, having also lost three straight, riding an eight-game winless streak and having won just three times in their last 15 matches.

The Galaxy won the first meeting between the teams in 2021 in Carson, and played to an exciting 3-3 tie at Banc of California Stadium behind two goals from Brian Rodriguez.

After missing the last two games due to a hamstring injury, Rodriguez is hoping to be back on the field and the Black & Gold will need another moment of scoring brilliance to help them get back on track in the Playoff race.

GALAXY IN-DEPTH

The Galaxy boast lots of individual talent. Chicharito Hernandez is one of the top goal scorers in the league, and Jonathan Dos Santos and Kevin Cabral are two dangerous players who can hurt LAFC in the midfield. The Galaxy strength is in their crossing and ability to find Chicharito in dangerous areas. They also can score on set pieces – an area that has given the Black & Gold trouble.

MURILO STEPS UP, BLACKMAN STEPS IN

After tying Wednesday’s match vs. Portland on a second half goal from Danny Musovski, the Timbers took the lead right back four minutes later. With LAFC pushed up into the attacking zone, the Timbers sent the ball up field, forcing LAFC All-Star defender Jesus Murillo to slide over and make a play on Felipe Mora. Mora got away from Murillo just past midfield, and then his shot in a one-on-one situation with goalkeeper Jamal Blackman hit the post, only to get knocked in by Dairon Asprilla.

After the game, an upset Murillo addressed his teammates in the locker room, owning up to his mistake and vowing to do better.

“Muri spoke to the group,” Bradley said. “That shows the character of who he is. It was just a guy who is a real guy, standing up in front of the group saying that, ‘You know what, I’m sorry.’ Sometimes individual mistakes have hurt us throughout the year, but as a team we have to stick together. He took responsibility which shows the character he brings to the team.”         

LAFC goalkeeper Jamal Blackman made his first career MLS start on Wednesday vs. Portland. The former Chelsea player signed on Sept. 13, and brought his six-foot-six frame to the goal, as Bradley opted to give Tomas Romero a break.

“I think Jamal has a good presence,” Bradley said. “I think he has settled in quickly and it was good to get Jamal a game.”

LAFC WILL WIN IF

They get some attacking quality from offensive players like Brian Rodriguez and Eduard Atuesta and capitalize on scoring chances. LAFC needs to rise to the challenge and handle Galaxy set pieces.

THE GALAXY CAN WIN IF

They can win the set piece battle. The Galaxy have the ability to create dangerous chances off of set pieces.

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Inspired by Point Blank (1967).