MLS Rivalry Week certainly came to a fantastic conclusion.
The second edition of El Trafico in 2019 came as advertised as the stars were out in a match with a ruckus atmosphere and plenty of goals. The game ended in a draw, but both sides had their chances to win in front of a boisterous band of ruffians at Banc of California Stadium.
Elsewhere, the Columbus Crew took the state of Ohio with a dominating 3-1 won over FC Cincinnati and FC Dallas hammered the Houston Dynamo to keep control of El Capitan in the Texas Derby.
Here’s a rundown of Sunday’s MLS action:
FC Cincinnati 1-3 Columbus Crew
(Manneh 89′) – (Zardes 22′, 33′, Diaz 45+1′)
Only two weeks removed from the 2-2 draw in Columbus, Gyasi Zardes and the Crew locked up their three-point affair early as the Hell is Real Derby returned to its place of origin, Nippert Stadium in Cincinnati.
The Crew controlled the run of play right from the opening kickoff. They got on the board in the22nd minute with the first of two Zardes goals. From the break, Luis Diaz hit Zardes in stride at the top of the box and he buried the chance from close range for his tenth goal of the season.
He’d do it again in a similar fashion, only this time Harrison Afful would have the pleasure of teeing him up in the 33rd.
Diaz tripled the lead at the end of the first half, powering one past Cincy keeper Przemyslaw Tyton on the near post side just before the half, and that’s all the Crew needed to beat its Ohio rival.
Kekuta Manneh pulled one back for Cincy in the 89th minute, but there wasn’t enough time left for the goal to make the game interesting.
FC Cincinnati will lick their wounds and travel to Texas to face FC Dallas next Saturday night. The Crew will return home to face the Chicago Fire the same day.
FC Dallas 5-1 Houston Dynamo
(Ziegler 24′, Ferreira 29′, , Ondrasek 56′, 64′, Barrios 90+6′) – (Rodriguez 80′)
FC Dallas made sure the Texas Derby was never in doubt as they wiped the floor with the Houston Dynamo.
Reto Ziegler put the hosts ahead in the 24th minute after scoring from the penalty spot. Jose Bizama brought down Dominique Badji and the Swiss defender slotted home into the bottom-right corner.
The start got even better for Dallas as Jesus Ferreira capped off a fast break in the 29th minute. Zdenek Ondrasek sprung the forward who made no mistake doubling the hosts lead.
The blowout only continued in the second half. Zdenek Ondrasek scored twice. First in the 54th and again in the 64th. Ferreira thought he had a second on the night, but his goal was called back for offside. Michael Barrios eventually did put a fifth in during the final minute of play.
Had it not been for Memo Rodriguez’s consolation goal in the 80th minute, Houston would have had nothing to show for their rather poor performance in a rivalry game.
FC Dallas takes the win and climbs into a playoff spot in the Western Conference before they host FC Cincinnati next Saturday. Houston is seeing their playoff hopes fade away quickly. They will try to rescue themselves on the road against Sporting Kansas City on Saturday.
Los Angeles FC 3-3 LA Galaxy
(Blessing 12′, 45+1′, Vela 53′)-(Ibrahimovic 2′, 15′, Pavon 16′)
The second edition of El Trafico in 2019 was everything we could have hoped for as the spoils were shared in an excellent conclusion to MLS Rivalry Week.
The match got off to an electric start with four goals in under 16 minutes. First, it was Zlatan Ibrahimovic scoring in just the second minute of play after collecting a nice feed from Cristian Pavon. It took ten minutes and a fair amount of attacking pressure for LAFC to get back on level pegging. Latif Blessing scored his fifth of the season thanks to being in the right place at the right time to head home a shot that took a deflection off David Bingham in the Galaxy goal.
The Galaxy responded with two more goals in under ten minutes. Zlatan scored another one in the 15th by getting in behind the LAFC defense. Pavon tucked a shot inside the near post from inside the penalty area just 69 seconds later to make it 3-1 to the Galaxy.
Things sort of calmed down from there, but not really. Both sides were creating chances in a wide open match and LAFC managed to claw one back right before the break when Blessing snuck in behind a Galaxy offside trap to knock the ball home.
The second half picked up right where the first ended. LAFC had the bulk of the ball and tied the game at three in the 53rd minute by scoring off a great feed from Mark-Anthony Kaye. That would be it for Vela’s contributions, however. He would pick up a hamstring injury shortly after the goal and he was subbed off just after the hour mark.
LAFC would have several more chances to grab a winner, but they were nothing more than close calls and they would have to settle for a draw.
Both sides have until next Sunday night to recover from this madness. LAFC will play Minnesota United at home while the Galaxy head up the Pacific coastline to take on the Sounders.