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MLS One to Watch: Matchweek 18 LAFC vs. LA Galaxy

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Call me a stooge of the league office, but this week’s One to Watch sees the LA Galaxy visit LAFC Friday. The match kicks off at 10:00 pm ET on ESPN.

Beyond the spotlight of the league’s two favorite teams and the potential first appearances for Giorgio Chiellini and Gareth Bale, here are three reasons why you should tune in:

LAFC vs. LA Galaxy: Goals, Goals, and More Goals

The 14 previous El Traficos averaged over four goals per game. Five games have featured six goals or more, with the highest-scoring match being the 2019 playoff game that saw LAFC come out on top 5-3. Any game with a lot of goals is always fun to watch, especially when the two teams playing have the ability year after year to light up the scoreboard.

LAFC has a league-high 35 goals this season. While the Galaxy has not been quite as prolific, the club has found its form in recent weeks, scoring four goals twice in its last four games. Each side remains capable of scoring at a high volume, led by a pair of attackers for both.

The Black and Gold are of course led by Carlos Vela, who has both six goals and six assists. Chicho Arango, despite potentially being on the wrong side of the club’s new moves, also has six goals on the year.

Chicharito continues to be the star man for the Galaxy, tallying seven goals. Supersub Dejan Joveljic is not far behind, however, with six goals despite only starting two matches.

Home-Field Advantage

In every matchup between the two teams with a winner, the home team has won every time. There is one exception, a 2020 contest that saw the Galaxy enter Banc of California Stadium and come out with a 2-0 victory. Of course, that was the year that there were few – if any fans – due to pandemic restrictions.

LAFC has the advantage of being at home Friday night. Not only would a loss break the series trend, but it would also be quite the disappointing way to welcome two new superstars to town. LAFC’s lone home loss this season was to Austin FC, the only team higher in the table than the Galaxy to visit the Banc in 2022.

The Role of Defense

As outlined above, the offense typically steals the show in El Trafico. That is likely to be the case again, but seeing how the offenses power past two strong defenses adds another layer to the tactical puzzle. Both clubs have only given up 19 goals thus far this season, the best in the Western Conference and second-best in the league.

So, which side of the tactical battle will be more important, and how will the arrival of two new stars overshadow what is normally one of the most electric games in MLS?

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BYU journalism '23, preparing for a career in sports media