LAFC taking on LA Galaxy in the Audi 2019 MLS Cup Western Conference semi finals. El Trafico, but with the added intensity of it being knockout football. Winner takes all. Yeah, no way we were going to miss this one. A rocking Banc of California Stadium welcomed SoccerBible once more as we took our seats for the latest instalment in our ‘Framed’ series.

Local derbies around the world always carry with them that extra bit of spice, but with high flying LAFC yet to record a win against their cross-town rivals, LA Galaxy in their five times of trying, combined with the fact that this was win or bust, the latest El Trafico took on a whole other level of significance. Add to that the spat that’s developed over the course of the season between Zlatan and Carlos Vela and there was yet another dimension added to proceedings. Safe to say we had high hopes for this one, and it didn’t disappoint.


Eight goals, controversy, vital contributions from the key men: this game was everything it was billed to be, and as a neutral, everything we could hope for. Understandably, the Banc was a sell-out, with fans in attendance to witness a significant power shift within Los Angeles. Yes, LAFC were coming into the game having set the best regular season in MLS history in just its second year of existence, setting league records for points, goals scored and goal difference on the way. But they needed a win to shake free of the shadow cast by the Galaxy, five-time MLS Cup champions.

And a win is what they got. Two goals from Vela, two from the returning Diomande and one from Rossi was enough, with Galaxy answering through Pavon, Ibrahimovic, and Fellscher, but ultimately falling short. The 3252 played their part, the noise never stopping with an almost constant stream of smoke billowing across the pitch. With the hoodoo surrounding a first win against their rivals finally broken, plus the potential of it being the last time Zlatan is seen on an MLS pitch, LAFC appear to be in the ascendancy as they prepare for the Western Conference final. Standing in their way? Only Atlanta United. Should be another belter.


Photography by Grace Stufkosky for SoccerBible.