On pace to obliterate the MLS record for the best record in league history,
LAFC has trailed by as many as two goals just twice all season.
Both times it has come against the LA Galaxy in the second season of El Trafico series.
The first time in July, LAFC lost, 3-2. On Sunday night, it came back from 3-1 down after 16 minutes to tie, 3-3. But the result didn't feel all that good.
For one, LAFC remains winless in five LA derbies. Ever since, the Galaxy came back to win, 4-3, in Zlatan Ibrahimovic's MLS debut in March 2018, it's managed to beat or tie LAFC, putting any of its other problems aside for one evening.
Also, Sunday's tie could prove costly. Eight minutes after he completed the comeback with his league-leading 27th goal to tie the score at 3-3, Carlos Vela was pulled from the game with a hamstring injury.
Vela wasn't happy one bit to get yanked by Bob Bradley, but the LAFC head coach wasn't taking any chances.
“Obviously, he’s a huge competitor so he’s not too happy when he comes off,” Bradley said. “But we’re not going to take a bigger risk and leave him out there when we know by the reaction that he’s now felt a little something.”
Bradley knocked on the table in the press room at the Banc of California Stadium, hoping that the tweak was indeed just a little something. An MRI on Monday will determined the extent of the injury.
"The conversation with Carlos is what you’d expect,” Bradley added. “’No, I wanted to stay on,' and I said, ‘I know you did.’ I made the decision because tonight, I think it’s the best one for us so that’s it."
LAFC is unusual in MLS in that it has lots of depth -- new Young Designated Player signing Brian Rodriguez came on in place of Vela -- but it has only one Vela, whose 27 goals are tied for second all-time in MLS and just four behind the record of 31 set by Atlanta United's Josef Martinez in 2018. His individual goal production -- 27 goals and 15 assists for 42 LAFC goals -- is better than the goals scored by 10 MLS teams and already the best in league history.
LAFC had plenty of chances -- it finished with a 27-10 edge in shots -- but couldn't find a fourth goal against David Bingham, who finished with seven saves. The result will leave LAFC wondering what does it take to beat the Galaxy, which rose to the occasion of El Trafico again.
"When you don't do it," said Bradley, "there's a part to it that still stings, and it will continue to hang over our heads."
Still, he looked on the positive side of the challenge.
"But what goes with that is the part of continuing to grow as a team," he said, "and I still think that the package of things it takes to be a great team, most are going in the right direction."
LAFC comebcak speaks for itself. It is a resilient team with depth and players that make things happen. MLS should be in ecstacy in having two such quality teams in this derby. It replicates EPL Man U & Man C in intensity, quality, and fan passion.
bg, one little quibble. I too enjoyed the game and do watch MLS as often as possible. I agree with your observation on intensity and passion of the partisans, but the quality of City vs United?
I agree with BG, it was a great game to watch (and while I didn't really care who won, I thought it would be nice to reward the LAFC fans for that atmosphere...). Vela certainly played well, but BB was right to take him off (seriously pulling a hamstring at this point could be a season-ending injury). The one thing I was surprised by was that there was no question raised about Zlatan being offside on the third goal (I think it was the 3rd; the one where he ended up dribbling around the keeper's challenge). From the only angle they showed on TV, when I froze it the frame when the ball was struck, he looked to be pretty clearly offside. I would have liked to see the VAR on that one.
It was the second goal and this clip was carefully edited by MLS to NOT show where he was when the ball was struck. Mmmmm.
Watch again-- the ball is unsuccessfully headed by LAFC defender Zimmerman before it falls to Zlatan's feet. I think there lies the answer of the no offsides call.
Hugh, the question is if Zlatan was in an offside position before Zimmerman played the ball.
If Zimmerman intentionally played the ball (deliberate) doesn’t that put Ibra on?
WS you would have to ask a referee. In my view he was exploiting his offside position. Before all the changes, it was pretty clear that gaining an advantage from being in an offside position would call for a whistle. I think that is still the spirit of the Law.
But I would have judged him involved in the play before the defender touched it. The defender would not have had to attempt to play the ball if the attacker had not already run behind the line.
I didn't see that Zimmerman touched the ball. I haven't reffed for a few years, and I think they may have changed the interpretation on this point. It used to be that if the defender made an intentional pass, that would reset the offside (so Ibra would be on). But if it just hit the defender, that would not. I think the tricky one is that if the defender attempts to play the ball, but shanks it, I think they used to not reset the offside but now they might. That would explain why they didn't discuss it.
Kent, there has been a change in how gaining an advantage is determined, but no significant change to interfering with play or with a player.
Was @ game, saw a quick replay, at home saw replay news in Englis n Spanish. N yes, egotistical Ibra Was offside. But employing his cheap theatrics, took over as if he was or has been auditioning the hundreds of talent agencies. But those of us who know concluded he got a cheap PRO goal.
GUYS with the new laws of the game changes, that is a valed goal as the ball came off the head of Zimmerman, and to Zlantan. GOOD goal. Yes WS you are corect. Many new law changes and it will take a while to get used to them. Even as a current REF I have problems will calling the new laws correctly. Hard to teach an old dog new tricks.
There has been no significant change to Law 11 itself. Things start getting tricky in the explanations.
Law 11 still says: "A player in an offside position is only penalised if... he is involved in active play by:...gaining an advantage by being in that position."
My bad, Craig. I was looking at the 2016 laws.
It now comes down to whether his run toward the flight of the ball interfered with the keeper coming off his line to grab the ball. The fact that it was played by an opponent only applies to the definition of gaining an advantage, not interference with play or opponent.