The Talk of Troy

LAFC scores four, tops Galaxy in El Tráfico

All-Stars Denis Bouanga and Ryan Hollingshead accounted for three of LAFC’s goals, dealing a huge blow to the Galaxy’s playoff hopes.

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LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles Football Club controlled Sunday’s derby at BMO Stadium from start to finish, beating the L.A. Galaxy 4-2.

LAFC entered the match third in the Western Conference but had lost its last three games, while the Galaxy had enjoyed good form, losing just once in its last eleven. Despite their losing streak, the MLS Cup Champions remained ten points ahead of their rivals from Carson, California.

Forward Denis Bouanga opened the scoring for the deserving Black and Gold following a cross from left back Diego Palacios in the 23rd minute, but the Galaxy responded just twelve seconds after play was restarted, tying the game 1-1.

Midfielder Diego Fagúndez found himself in space before playing a through ball to English striker Billy Sharp, who turned in his third goal for the Galaxy in his first start after signing from Sheffield United on August 15.

“We were kind of in between and it was a moment of ball watch where they find [Fagúndez] in the pocket,” said LAFC goalkeeper Maxime Crépeau.

Crépeau also made his first start of the season, ten months removed from breaking his leg in last year’s MLS Cup Final.

“The guy has been grinding for the better part of a year now, trying to get back on the field,” said defender Ryan Hollingshead of his teammate.

Hollingshead reclaimed the lead for LAFC with his weaker left foot in the 33rd minute, but the Galaxy equalized once more in the second half when another defender, Maya Yoshida, headed past Crépeau.

The visiting Galaxy, despite having 62% possession, looked the inferior side throughout, registering just two shots on goal to LAFC’s nine.

“Obviously when it’s 2-2, it’s always a little different, but we still felt very good about where we were in the game and that we always have the ability to score a goal and create enough chances to win this game,” said LAFC manager Steve Cherundolo.

Galaxy manager Greg Vanney agreed, saying his team looked a step slower than its rivals, especially in the first half.

“We were just a little bit behind the game and too opened up, and they were controlling the middle of the field,” Vanney said after the defeat.

Cherundolo’s side took the lead a third time in the 75th minute when Denis Bouanga capitalized on a misguided backpass by defender Chris Mavinga. Bouanga’s second goal of the game tied him for the league lead in goals with 14 and marked his seventh multigoal game of the season in all competitions.

By contrast, not one Galaxy player has had a multigoal game all season in the MLS, highlighting the attacking woes that have kept Los Galácticos out of the playoff picture.

With less than ten minutes to go, a pair of substitutes sealed the win for LAFC when Mario González and Timothy Tillman combined to set the home fans ablaze for a fourth time.

Following the win, LAFC finds itself in a position to challenge for the top spot in the Western Conference. The Black and Gold are just six points behind conference leaders St. Louis, and have played one less game.

The Galaxy, now with a loss and two draws in its last three games, has seen playoff chances fall to 32 percent, according to But, with seven games remaining, a string of wins could yet propel Vanney’s side into the playoff picture.

LAFC rises to 12-9-7 with the win and will take on St. Louis Wednesday in Missouri. Meanwhile, the Galaxy fall to 7-11-9, and will also play on the road Wednesday against Minnesota United.