Match Report

Match Report: LA Galaxy Fall 3-2 to LAFC at Dignity Health Sports Park on Sunday Afternoon

LOS ANGELES (Sunday, April 16, 2023) – In the 18th edition of El Tráfico across all competitions, the LA Galaxy fell 3-2 to LAFC before a sell-out crowd of 25,174 fans at Dignity Health Sports Park on Sunday afternoon.

LA Galaxy Against LAFC
Sunday’s match between the LA Galaxy and LAFC marked the 18th edition of El Tráfico across all competitions, with the Galaxy leading the all-time series 7-6-5. With the loss to LAFC, the Galaxy hold a 6-1-2 record (21 GF, 13 GA) in nine matches played across all competitions against LAFC at Dignity Health Sports Park. The Galaxy are 4-1-1 in six regular-season matches played at home against LAFC dating back to July 19, 2019. Javier “Chicharito” Hernández has tallied two goals and three assists in five career regular-season matches played against LAFC. In 18 matches played between the LA Galaxy (40 GF) and LAFC (40 GF) across all competitions, \El Tráfico \averages 4.4 goals per game.

LA Galaxy Firsts
Midfielder Tyler Boyd recorded his first career MLS and LA Galaxy goal in the match against LAFC. Making his MLS and LA Galaxy debut, defender Julián Aude played 18 minutes as a second-half substitute. Mark Delgado recorded his first goal of the 2023 campaign, while Chicharito registered his first assist in his first start of the 2023 MLS Regular Season. Additionally, Séga Coulibaly made his 2023 debut and his 50th career appearance across all competitions for the Galaxy.

Goal-Scoring Plays
LFC – Carlos Vela, 22nd minute – A blocked shot outside the box fell to Carlos Vela on the right side of the penalty area. Vela took a touch and curled his shot into the far corner.

LAG – Tyler Boyd (Gastón Brugman), 41st minute – After receiving the ball at midfield, Tyler Boyd’s shot from 36-yards out was fired into the top right corner of the goal.

LFC – Carlos Vela (Penalty Kick), 68th minute – Carlos Vela’s penalty kick was drilled into the lower left corner.

LFC – Ryan Hollingshead (Carlos Vela), 70th minute – From Carlos Vela’s in-swinging corner kick, Ryan Hollingshead headed the ball into the far corner of the goal.

LAG – Mark Delgado (Chicharito), 84th minute – Working down the right flank, Dejan Joveljić’s cross into the box was flicked on by Chicharito to Mark Delgado, who tapped in from close range.

Postgame Notes

  • Sunday’s match between the LA Galaxy and LAFC marked the 18th edition of El Tráfico across all competitions, with the Galaxy leading the all-time series 7-6-5.
  • Notably, the Galaxy suffered their first loss at home to LAFC in nine matches played across all competitions (6-1-2, 21 GF, 13 GA).
  • In 18 matches played between the LA Galaxy (40 GF) and LAFC (40 GF) across all competitions, \El Tráfico \averages 4.4 goals per game.
  • The Galaxy are 5-1-2 in eight MLS regular-season matches played against LAFC at Dignity Health Sports Park.
  • Tyler Boyd recorded his first career MLS and LA Galaxy goal in the match against LAFC.
  • Mark Delgado registered his first goal of the 2023 MLS Regular Season against LAFC.
  • Javier “Chicharito” Hernández tallied his first assist of the 2023 campaign.
  • Chicharito has tallied two goals and two assists in five career regular-season matches played against LAFC.
  • Gastón Brugman tallied his first assist of the 2023 campaign. Brugman has registered two career assists in two games played across all competitions against LAFC.
  • Riqui Puig finished the match with 83 completed passes (90.2% pass accuracy), a game-high four chances created and eight successful dribbles and hit the post.
  • Jalen Neal completed 59 passes (98.3% pass accuracy), won two tackles and registered one clearance and one interception.
  • Goalkeeper Jonathan Klinsmann recorded a career-high seven saves in the match against LAFC.
  • Séga Coulibaly made his 2023 debut and his 50th career appearance across all competitions for the Galaxy.
  • The 25,174 fans in attendance marked the first sell-out of the 2023 campaign at Dignity Health Sports Park.

Next Game
Next up, the LA Galaxy play host to Austin FC at Dignity Health Sports Park on Saturday, April 22. The match on April 22 kicks off at 7:30 p.m. PT and will be broadcasted live on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV.

2023 MLS Regular Season
LA Galaxy (0-4-3, 3pts) vs. LAFC (5-0-2, 17pts)

April 16, 2023 – Dignity Health Sports Park (Los Angeles)

Goals by Half 1 2 F
LA Galaxy 1 1 2
LAFC 1 2 3

Scoring Summary:
LFC: Vela, 22
LAG: Boyd (Brugman), 41
LFC: Vela (penalty kick), 68
LFC: Hollingshead (Vela), 70
LAG: Delgado (Chicharito), 84

Misconduct Summary:
LFC: Acosta (caution), 19
LFC: Palacios (caution), 60
LFC: Cifuentes (caution), 63
LAG: Aude (caution), 73
LAG: Puig (caution), 90
LFC: Palencia (caution), 90+1
LAG: Joveljić (caution), 90+4

LAG: GK Jonathan Klinsmann; D Calegari, D Jalen Neal, D Chris Mavinga (Séga Coulibaly, 58), D Raheem Edwards (Julián Aude, 72); M Mark Delgado (Efraín Álvarez, 90+2), M Gastón Brugman, M Riqui Puig, M Tyler Boyd (Daniel Aguirre, 71), M Memo Rodríguez (Dejan Joveljić, 71), F Javier “Chicharito” Hernández ©
Substitutes Not Used: GK Aaron Cervantes; D Kelvin Leerdam, D Eriq Zavaleta; F Preston Judd

TOTAL SHOTS: 14 (Chicharito, 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 5 (Tyler Boyd, 2); FOULS: 13 (Riqui Puig, 3); OFFSIDES: 2; CORNER KICKS: 9; SAVES: 7

LFC: GK John McCarthy; D Jesus Murillo, D Diego Palacios, D Ryan Hollingshead, D Aaron Long; M Ilie Sanchez, M Jose Cifuentes (Sergi Palencia, 89), M Kellyn Acosta; F Carlos Vela © (Stipe Biuk, 71), F Kwadwo Opoku (Mateusz Bogusz, 78), F Denis Bouanga

Substitutes Not Used: GK Abraham Romero; D Erik Duenas, D Denil Maldonado; M Daniel Crisostomo

TOTAL SHOTS: 18 (Denis Bouanga, 6); SHOTS ON GOAL: 9 (Denis Bouanga, Carlos Vela, 2); FOULS: 15 (Jose Cifuentes, 4); OFFSIDES: 1; CORNER KICKS: 8; SAVES: 3

Referee: Armando Villarreal
Assistant Referees: Micheal Barwegen, Jose Da Silva
Fourth Official: Ismir Pekmic
VAR: Edvin Jurisevic
Weather: Partly Cloudy, 67 degrees
Attendance: 25,174

All statistics contained in this box score are unofficial


On what he saw from the sideline, and the penalty kick and header changing things around:“For a lot of the day, I was pleased with our performance. I was pleased with our effort. Our energy. We punished ourselves today. We killed ourselves today. And that’s unfortunate, against a good team that has momentum in their favor. The first goal, we give the ball away right in front of us, then just start to transition, you know, we’re trying to manage it. You manage the first one, it pops back out, a little unlucky maybe, but, it is what it is. The ball goes wide and you don’t want [Carlos] Vela in that situation. We’ve seen that goal 200 times over his career probably. And now we’re down 1-0. And, again, just… you feel a little bit… for a few minutes, I felt like there was some disappointment in the group. Because, again, honestly, in the first 20 minutes, it was one team on the field. And, I know they’re really good, but they couldn’t get the ball off of us. They couldn’t stop us from going forward. And they couldn’t get a possession in our half of the field. That’s not their game. Their game is about killing you in transition and that’s what they did on that particular moment, because we gave it to them. I felt the emotion after that a little bit, which, I think slowed down the speed at which the ball was moving prior to that, which was creating so many problems for them. We started to get bogged down, btu I think we kind of came out of it. Got the goal. Tyler [Boyd] hit an absolute laser. Which, sometimes, we need something like that just to unlock the goal a little bit. And, also, put us at 1-1 coming into halftime. I thought the game was a little bit of a stalemate in the beginning of the second half at 1-1. It was… we were starting to look at ways to pick up the speed, the intensity, stuff like that. And that’s when it the course of two minutes we make two colossal mistakes. It’s our throw in, and, inside of the depth of the 18 [yard box], and, given the opposition and what they’re looking for and where we are, and the fact that Sega [Coulibaly] just came on the field, we can’t throw the ball in front of our goal like that. And, Ra [Raheem Edwards] knows that. It just can’t happen. Like, we need to protect our goal and throw the ball forward. And, sometimes you live to fight another day, at some of these plays. It’s not the play that you have to do something. So, again, we put Sega in a tough situation. I don’t think he’s expecting it, and we commit a penalty. Now, two minutes later, as we’re starting to get organized and get ourselves back going in the game, we give up a corner kick. And we know it’s coming to the back post. We talked about it all week. It hangs up there, and Mark [Delgado] doesn’t see it, and he’s in a difficult match up, [Ryan] Hollingshead puts it away on us. We have to deal with that better. We dealt with a fair number of corners on the day, all really well, and that one we didn’t do as well. After that, we were pressing. So, of course, they got some things in transition because that’s their game. But, I thought the speed at which we were going, the intention. Javi [Javier Hernández] has a great chance or two, Riqui [Puig] hits one off the post. [Calegari] hits a nice shot and the keeper makes a great save. So, even after all of that, we still had our chances to put ourselves right back in the game and get something out of it. So, I’m proud of the guys’ efforts. It’s been an interesting week for everybody, but the effort for the guys had been fantastic. And, I thought at times, the performance was fantastic. I’ve never been more sure about this group’s ability to do something special this season than today. We’ve got to cut out the part where we hurt ourselves, and make the other team have to beat us and then do our job on the other side.”

On Javier Hernández starting and seeing the complete LA Galaxy squad on the field together, and what he saw from the group:
“I thought having Javi [Javier Hernández] in again, as I’ve said all week, it’s not just having another great player on the field, it’s having a leader, it’s having an emotional leader in the locker room before we go out. And we’re going, you just… he’s the most extroverted in the locker room in terms of firing guys up and getting them going. I think everybody feeds off that. When you’re behind and you see in front of you, and you have a striker like Javi that is super intelligent, knows his role, understands how to make little plays throughout the course of the game. Has the energy that he did, too, to stretch the game. Then you know you have a chance in many of those moments. It was nice to have him back. I think, again, our organization, our set up, in terms of the game, especially early in the game when the balls were moving fast, and late in the game when balls moving fast, we were going to be a very difficult team to play against. I thought Riqui [Puig] was excellent today, it was his best game of the season so far. Which, shows you, again, what he’s capable of. I thought [Calegari] was excellent today, too, by the way. He had a very difficult assignment against the hottest player in the league, who, much of the day… and, I thought he was fantastic. And getting Julián [Aude] on was good. It’s not an easy entrance who has been here for a week, to come into this kind of derby and have the pressure of having to try and get two goals out of it. And, I thought we saw some really nice things out of him, and I look forward to what he will bring to our group. But, like you said, we’re starting to get whole, we still believe we have some more to get whole, but we are starting to get there.”

On what he thought Jalen Neal contributed to the team tonight in his first El Tráfico as a 19-year old:
“Again, what I’ve said about Jalen [Neal] so many times… it’s just his composure. He keeps his temperament, his emotion, it’s always very, very steady. It doesn’t really matter if it’s
El Tráfico or if it’s training. He’s the same, same emotionally. And, when you can do that as a center back and stay in that kind of game reading, problem solving mind, it helps you in the course of the game. He makes good reads. He’s got a great frame and athleticism. He has a lot of good things going for him, which we’re all seeing kind of now come out during these games. He has more growth to go, both physically and as a player, which is really special and going to be fun to watch and be a part of. And, I think as he continues to do that, he’ll become more physical and have a little nasty in there sometimes. In the right way, in the right moments, to be even more difficult to play against. But, again, he shows you why, in my opinion, he’ll be a high, high-level centerback, from how he works up there.”

On the takeaways from this game:“I think the whole context is like, and it’s not an excuse but, we outworked them, we dominated them, but we did the mistakes that they didn’t do. As simple as that. It’s like that. The first goal that we lost the ball in a very easy way, then the penalty and then a set piece. Even in the counterattacks that they had, JK [Jonathan Klinsmann] did amazingly. They missed chances and we did too, but literally I think we did more mistakes than them and that’s why they won.”On the team doing a lot of very good things this game:
“Well, if you think that, we appreciate it because yes, the context is that unfortunately we are in a business about results, literally. And we haven’t wont. And we can’t celebrate or be happy about it because the results haven’t happened. The bright side is that it’s just seven games that we have played, but today I think regardless of the result it was the best performance in my opinion that we did. Because honestly, if LAFC is considered the best team of the league, like I told you, we outplayed them. The problem is we did very naïve mistakes, all of us. And then their goalkeeper did an amazing save on my chance, I need to score it but there are some plays that I can come and tell you guys, ‘I missed it because I decided badly’. But I think it was an unbelievable save so yeah, we tried to fight back and then the players who came in made a very good difference. That’s my summary. We played way better than them, but we did more mistakes than them.”
On how all the LAFC fans in the stadium affected the team’s performance:“Nothing. No man. It’s even better, it motivates me more. People think that when they send you some of that energy, for players like me, they motivate me. If I see the crowd empty, for example, without them, I want people be more like pissing me off and shouting stuff. It gets you more motivated. Everything is noise, man. It’s the way that you manipulate them. As well, we asked our fans to come because they do a very big impact on us, they don’t realize that. So for me, no. It doesn’t affect us. It’s even better to have fans from the away team. I like it.”On Javier mentioning LAFC is one of the best teams in the league:“I said ‘if you consider them like one of the best teams of the league’, I didn’t say they were one of the best ones. Just to clear the context, because you see that’s why. I didn’t say that. In your opinion, yeah. But it’s in the that it ends, it’s 34 games. We’ve had the same narrative in my last two years and then we qualified in Playoffs, we were the fourth seed and they were even more scared that they were going to fight against us after we defeated Nashville. They preferred Nashville than us. So man, they are doing a very good job, they are doing great things but for us, it’s a result-driven job over here and we depend that and unfortunately we haven’t delivered but the bright side is that this is just the beginning.”On how much he likes to see his team have one of the best performances of the year and play their hearts out despite the result:“Today’s performance, taking out the mistakes, is the minimum that we need to show every game.”On this game being a “great loss” if that’s even possible:“It is. And I appreciate that you say that. Sometimes the messages that I try to do and I always tell you [the media] since you play a part, is that we should educate people that there are ways to lose too. Of course there are ways. We don’t want to lose. You saw me today. We don’t want to lose. I hate losing. But there are ways to lose. There are gray areas. It’s not always just black and white. It’s not just amazing and terrible. There are ways to lose and the way that we lost today, it’s a way that I am very proud of. I prefer to lose like this 10 more games than in the way we lost against Houston or against other teams. But as well, if you give me a chance, and what is in my head every night before I go to bed is myself lifting the trophy with my teammates. That’s what we want. So, to do that, we need to improve every day, every training, every detail matters. Today is a very clear example of that. We dominate the [quote on quote] “best” team of the league, but as well, we were the ones who gave away the goals. They needed to score, [Carlos] Vela needs to score that amazing goal of course, and Vela needs to score the penalty, and then the third goal a very good header, but we gave them something that they don’t give us if you see each team. That’s the difference, that we can be the best team in MLS but we need to grow more mentally and emotionally and that’s going to be translated in the decision making inside the field.” [Translated from Spanish]
On the team's performance:
"Today we were the superior team, but we also made some bad mistakes and that is why the opposing team won. This way of losing is a positive way of losing sometimes that is life. We have to also educate the public that there are ways to lose even though we are in a line of work that is based on results obviously I prefer to win 34 games 1-0 while playing horribly than to play very well and lose all 34. I think we are on a good path and planting the seeds and while it may not look like it the results will come if we play with this consistency. Setting aside the mistakes we committed today the mental, emotional, and style of play we showed today should be the minimum we show every game."

On scoring his first goal for the LA Galaxy:
“I tend to like the big games. I always have to give glory to my lord and savior Jesus Christ, but very disappointed in the result. It would have been very sweet scoring my first goal in the my first derby if we won, but the defeat trumps all of that and we leave feeling disappointed."

On the team’s performance:
We showed that we are a team that can be dangerous, that can be taken seriously in this league. Everyone is saying that LAFC are a great team, but I think we dominated them today and we showed togetherness today. We fought really hard and a couple of mistakes led to goals and we were unlucky to not get the result."

On going into halftime tied at 1-1:
"We were in it, we were dominating the first 20 minutes and then they had a few dangerous counter attacks but the goal brought us back and we had confidence we could take the result, it didn't go our way but we'll keep moving forward, keep working hard, we've been working real hard this week it was a great week of training. We are pushing each other, demanding a lot of each other so I think we are heading in the right direction."