In a high emotion-driven round of the 2022 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup, LA Galaxy would take the lead late into the second half and edge out Los Angeles Football Club in a 3-1 victory, and head to the Quarterfinals for the first time since 2017.
“I think the mentality, the confidence, the hunger, the bravery, and the confidence that we show … we need to maintain that,” said Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez of the LA Galaxy. “And mostly in our home, you know, we want to make every team come here, and if they’re going to take any points, they need to give the game of their life. So I think today, it’s a great feeling. It’s a great game, what as well, it’s great, we set the bar there.”
The two Los Angeles clubs have had an instant rivalry since LAFC launched in 2018. That year, the “El Trafico” phrase was coined, however, despite meeting 15 times in all competitions entering Wednesday, the two teams have not played in the Open Cup.
As the whistle sounded at the commencement of the first half, both LAFC and LA Galaxy began with an aggressive force to gain possession. LA Galaxy would ultimately be the first at any attempts on goal with two being close to goals before the third minute of the match was even reached.
However, LAFC goalie Maxime Crepeau would block those close calls and keep his team in a good rhythm defensively.
The game continued with high energy, but that energy would materialize into a yellow card being awarded in the 11th minute. During an offensive attack by LAFC, a push from behind from LA Galaxy Marco Delgado would lead him to the first athlete awarded the card.
As time passed during the first half, the score would remain at 0-0, with teams both pushing to keep possession and be the first on the scoreboard.
Finally, in the 37th minute, LAFC had an opportunity to take the lead but was blocked by a slide from LA Galaxy.
In a hurry to regain the possession in the 39th minute, both teams rushed in the direction of the ball, but LA Galaxy’s Chicharito would body LAFC Diego Palacios much too aggressively causing him to flip over his back and leaving Palacios to land directly on his back.
LAFC’s Kellyn Acosta was the player identified who pushed Chicharito following the foul and caused him to also land hard on the field as a quick instinct to protect his teammate.
Both teams proceeded in a small scuffle as emotions overtook them as they were both raging from the fouls that were committed. Ultimately, Palacios was removed from the field with no signs of returning. Chicharito and Acosta would receive yellow cards for their actions.
“There was a lot of emotion. I’ve heard speculation as to what kicked it off, but I didn’t see anything specific. Certainly, there was a lot of emotion in that game and it certainly carried over at the end,” LA Galaxy head coach Greg Vanney said.
The half would conclude a few minutes after with both teams scoreless.
After ending the first half with a major foul, the energy going into the second half seemed to have increased just a bit as both teams are still focused on changing the score.
Several attempts later, LA Galaxy would be the one to raise the score 1-0 in the 51st minute. LA Galaxy Samuel Grandsir was able to get the ball rolling just meters away from the goalie and Kevin Cabral would gently slide to change the direction of the ball to the corner of the net and out of Crepeau’s reach.
A few minutes later, in the 57th minute, Grandsir would create another opportunity for his fellow teammate Chicharito to beat LAFC on the run and gain their second goal of the night.
LA Galaxy led 2-0 with plenty of time left in the match.
LAFC tried to hold its composure after falling into a deficit but would fail as the team would gain another yellow card of the night. In an attempt to halt an offensive run, LAFC’s Ryan Hollingshead would foul LA Galaxy’s Cabal from behind and force him to stumble to the ground.
With the clock counting down, both teams pushed to make their final attempts on goal but possession would continue to go back and forth and all shots were blocked or out of range of the goal.
Less than 10 minutes left in the match (82nd minute), Dejan Joveljic would lengthen the lead for LA Galaxy for a 3-0 score.
It may have seemed to be the end of the match following Jovelijic’s goal, but LAFC didn’t lighten up and Jose Cifuentes found the opportunity to make an offensive play that ended with a header from Hollingshead changing the score 3-1 in the 85th minute.
The last-minute goal by LAFC fueled the team with hopes of being able to tie the game. Five extra minutes were added to the second half, they were still unable to create the comeback they were in the midst of making.
LA Galaxy knocks out LAFC from the US Open Cup with a final score of 3-1 and moves on to the next round where they will host the Sacramento Republic FC in a return to the Quarterfinals for the first time since 2017.
The win also extends the Galaxy’s home winning streak in the Open Cup to six games
“This is the best, I think, the best game we played at home obviously I’m so you know, guys are just so happy and they want to continue this way at home. Because as you guys know, in the last couple of games, we’re not that we’re not up to par up to the level that we know. So to get a victory here an Open Cup against our rivals is perfect,” LA Galaxy Edwards Raheem said.