The first El Trafico showdown played in the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs lived up to the hype and then some, with Los Angeles Football Club beating the LA Galaxy for the first time.
Carlos Vela and Adama Diomande scored a brace apiece to lead LAFC to a thrilling 5-3 win the Western Conference Semifinals Thursday night at Banc of California Stadium.
Moments after hitting the woodwork on a free kick, Vela opened the scoring in the 16th minute following a turnover by Diego Polenta. The Golden Boot presented by Audi winner took a pass from Brian Rodriguez, sliced Giancarlo Gonzalez with a cut to his right foot and slid a low shot inside the far post.
It was the Mexican international’s eighth all-time goal against the Galaxy, scoring in each of the six chapters of the rivalry.
Vela netted his second goal in the 40th minute, but it wasn’t without a tinge of controversy. There were remonstrations from the Galaxy bench that Rodriguez was in an offside position when receiving a return pass from Latif Blessing before laying off to Vela for the tap-in.
Referee Kevin Stott was satisfied with the Video Review check and didn’t deem it necessary to go to the monitor, allowing the goal to stand.
One minute later, Cristian Pavon had the critical response with a first-time finish inside the far post after Zlatan Ibrahimovic won the ball with a shoulder challenge on Tristan Blackmon.
Ibrahimovic then leveled in the 55th minute, but it was more about a gaffe by Tyler Miller, who let the towering Swede’s shot go off his hand and through his legs.
Just when it looked like history would repeat itself, Diego Rossi and Diomande scored a pair of goals in a two-minute span to restore their two-goal lead.
Rolf Feltcher latched onto Romain Alessandrini’s free kick to pull the Galaxy within a goal in the 77th minute. Three minutes later, Diomande struck for his second goal to cap the scoring.
- 16’ — LAFC — Carlos Vela
- 40’ — LAFC — Carlos Vela
- 41’ — LA — Cristian Pavon
- 55’ — LA — Zlatan Ibrahimovic
- 66’ — LAFC — Diego Rossi
- 68’ — LAFC — Adama Diomande
- 77’ — LA — Rolf Feltscher
- 80’ — LAFC — Adama Diomande