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Galaxy-Los Angeles FC Preview
The first matchup between Los Angeles FC and the LA Galaxy featured plenty of offensive fireworks capped by an ending that would make Hollywood proud.
Now, the "El Trafico" series shifts to Banc of California stadium on Thursday evening when LAFC plays host to the Galaxy.
On March 31, superstar Zlatan Ibrahimovic made a stunning MLS debut for the Galaxy. After coming on as a substitute, he scored in the 77th minute and tallied the game-winner in stoppage time as LA rallied for a 4-3 win.
With a goal in Saturday's 3-1 win over the Philadelphia Union, the forward has nine goals in his last six starts and 12 on the season.
Ibrahimovic said Sunday that he was not sure if he's changed U.S. soccer.
"I just keep doing my job, and they are lucky I did not come 10 years ago because I would be the president," he said.
But the native of Sweden also expects this matchup against the expansion side to be tougher.
"It will be a new show and they play at home and we prepare for that game now and I think it will be a busy game," Ibrahimovic said. "I am sure we will have some sun and we will do everything we can to win."
The Galaxy (9-7-4), unbeaten in seven straight, start play this week tied with the Portland Timbers for fourth in the Western Conference. Both teams are one point ahead of Real Salt Lake and two points behind Sporting Kansas City.
LAFC (10-5-5) is second in the West, four points behind FC Dallas. The black-and-gold have yet to lose at home, posting a 5-0-4 mark.
Coach Bob Bradley's squad returns to the field after a 5-1 drubbing by Minnesota United on Sunday. After Benny Feilhaber leveled the score in the 26th minute, LAFC surrendered four straight goals.
"We take the lessons from today and move on," defender Tristan Blackmon said Sunday. "We have a tough game on Thursday so we'll learn from this and get back on track."
One player who did not face the Galaxy in March is Adama Diomande. The Norwegian forward has a team-best nine goals in nine games, including six starts. He's scored twice in four matches this month after netting seven in four matches last month.
Carlos Vela, playing his first season in MLS after a solid career in Europe and his native Mexico, carried LAFC's offense in the first matchup with his only brace. The forward is second on the team with seven goals in 14 games.
Galaxy midfielder Romain Alessandrini did not face LAFC earlier this season, but defenders will want to watch for him. The French native has two goals and four assists in his last three matches (one start).
Updated July 25, 2018