Only the derby has this effect.
Two teams separated by 20 points wouldn't normally garner much attention at all. Even if one team is atop the standings and the other in the third spot.
Two teams separated by an aggregate goal differential of 49 can't make people on the East Coast pay attention. Yet, all eyes will be on Los Angeles on Sunday.
Because it's not just about the points. It's not about positions in the standings.
It means so much more...
Let's preview the derby:
LAFC vs Galaxy | Aug. 25 at 7:30pm PT
Where To Watch
TV: FS1, FOX Deportes
Radio: ESPNLA 710, KFWB 980
First rule of derbies: Throw form out the window. But let's be true to the format. The Galaxy has a dominant win at home and a tie that felt like a loss despite being down a man for over 80 minutes in the previous two matches. Prior to that, they were seriously nose-diving with three defeats in a row after beating LAFC 3-2 in July.
What The Team Is Saying
Bob Bradley on facing the Galaxy: "It's the derby. It means more. The emotion in the game, the intensity in the game. So far, with all the things we've done, we haven't beat them. Certainly, it's something we're all thinking about. We've got to be ready and have a great go at it. Try to take our football once again and put it out there. It's gotta be with intensity, it's gotta be with concentration, it's gotta be with a lot of things. That's what derbies are all about."
Carlos Vela on what the derby means to him: "It's one more game but when you play against the other team of the city, you always want to do your best. You want to win. You want to show that you are better than the other team of the city and its a good chance to show how good we are this season. I hope we can finally get the three points."
Walker Zimmerman on how his team approaches the derby: "We have to come to this game with a lot of confidence. The way that we're playing, especially at home, we have to make sure that we play the way that we've been playing at home. Not trying to change things too much on our end. Obviously, we can be a little bit better in the way that we handle some of their direct play. Be a little bit more physical, have a little bit more bite, and respond to the physicality of the game."
LAFC Projected Starting XI
(4-3-3): Tyler Miller; Jordan Harvey, Eddie Segura, Walker Zimmerman, Steven Beitashour; Eduard Atuesta, Mark-Anthony Kaye, Latif Blessing; Diego Rossi, Adama Diomande, Carlos Vela.
What To Watch For
A Plan For Zlatan: LAFC players were the first to admit they didn't meet the level of the Galaxy in the last derby. Couple that with Zlatan Ibrahimović's individual performance and LAFC fell short once again. In the second meeting this season, will LAFC deviate slightly from its commitment to playing its way to make things difficult for Zlatan? The big striker avoided Walker Zimmerman as much as possible, preferring to battle with Eddie Segura for direct balls. Segura mainly plays on the left of the center-back pairing but he's not limited to that side. It willl be interesting to see how Segura and Zimmerman divvy up responsibilities against the Galaxy.
Gotta Be First: Second and loose balls killed LAFC last derby. The Black & Gold like to keep the ball on the deck. While the Galaxy thrives on chaos. The best way to counteract that is by being first to every ball and moving it into areas of control. The previous match against the Earthquakes was a good litmus test for LAFC's ability to matchup 1v1 across the field with opponents and work together to get out of tough situations. They'll need to rely on that come Sunday, although they might need to take it up a notch to account for the Galaxy's physical prowess.
A Possible Debut: Brian Rodríguez arrived at LAFC a couple of weeks ago as a young Designated Player but had not been able to appear in matches as his visa paperwork was sorted. Bob Bradley confirmed on Friday that the paperwork has cleared and Rodríguez is available for inclusion in the squad for Sunday. The Uruguayan has been learning every day from his new teammates and the coaching staff. Bradley mentioned that everyone has been impressed with the progress he's made. With LAFC playing so well leading up to the derby, it's unlikely he'll appear from the start but he could get his first taste of action on Sunday.