LAFC are heavily favored to get the better of their city rivals in Friday’s big clash despite having lost both of their previous meetings with Galaxy this season.
Who do Bettors Favor?
Checking out the best-rated online sportsbooks it seems clear that the verdict of the bookmakers is that LAFC will win this game. They are clear top-rated at around -125. If you think LA Galaxy can get the better of their local rivals, you can opt for the away win at +280, with the draw priced at +300.
|LAFC v LA Galaxy|
LAFC Flying High in MLS
LAFC are flying high in the Western Conference and are currently leading MLS overall, with their 36 points from 18 games, although Austin FC are just two points behind.
The joint-top goalscorers in the league, Steve Cherundolo’s team have not been flawless this season, but they have consistently found ways to win, particularly at home. In fact, their only defeat at the Banc of California Stadium came against second-placed Austin. Otherwise, their home record reads seven wins, two draws, and goals for and against record of 22-8.
There’s no room for complacency in MLS, however, and their 1-0 defeat in Vancouver at the weekend was a clear reminder that they can take nothing for granted for the rest of this regular season.
Galaxy Struggling for Consistency
LA Galaxy started the regular season strong, winning their first two games, including a win over the reigning MLS Cup champions NYCFC. Unfortunately, they haven’t been able to maintain that form and their inconsistency is an ongoing source of frustration for Galaxy fans.
Over the first ten games of the season, it looked as though Greg Vanney had unlocked the secret of tightening up a leaky defense as they conceded one or zero goals in nine of those games. But that proved to be an illusion, as they went on to concede 12 in their next six MLS outings in a run of poor form that also saw them suffer a shock exit from the US Open Cup at the hands of Sacramento Republic.
So, the 4-0 home win over Montreal last weekend will have provided a welcome boost to the team’s confidence. The challenge now is to build on it against much tougher opponents.
MLS Betting Team News
Both teams will be without some key players for this encounter. LAFC’s team news features four potential absentees. Defender Julian Gaines is likely to be missing as he continues to recover from a pelvis injury. Forwards Carlos Vela, Brian Rodriguez and Ismael Tajouri-Shradi were all described as ‘questionable’ ahead of the weekend trip to Vancouver, and none of the trio even made the bench so it remains to be seen whether they will be available for this crunch game. Midfielder Jose Cifuentes will be available, however, after missing the Vancouver game due to an accumulation of yellow cards.
Galaxy are still without Jorge Villafan, who is struggling with a left knee strain and Chase Gasper is likely to be missing due to his thigh injury. The good news for Vanney is that both Douglas Costa and Kevin Cabral, who had to site out the Minnesota game after collecting red cards, will be available here.
LAFC are the Pick in El Traffico
The weakened nature of the LAFC attack, as well as the last two games between these teams, gives LA Galaxy some cause for optimism going into the third El Traffico of the season. There is no doubt that Galaxy have the ability to find the net, and their creativity is underlined by the fact that ten different players on their roster have already recorded an assist in MLS.
On the other hand, Galaxy have some pretty glaring weaknesses. Their tendency to start games slowly – they have conceded the first goal in five of their last seven games – is a problem. They’ve also been struggling to break teams down until late in the game, with 11 of their last 13 goals coming in the final half-hour of games. A repetition of that tendency could prove extremely costly against these opponents.
Galaxy’s 7-3 lead on the H2H figures for this rivalry is eye-catching, but it isn’t a reflection of the relative merits of the two teams. In fact, LAFC have finished above their city rivals in the MLS Western Conference in two of the last three seasons. As ever, it is dangerous to read too much into a small sample of soccer results, and the H2H record here is an example of just the kind of simplistic stat that can lead bettors astray. LAFC are the better team, they have home advantage and they are the best pick to win this game and restore some of the balance in Los Angeles.