LAFC scores twice in second half to defeat 10-man Galaxy squad in latest El Trafico meeting – Press Enterprise

LOS ANGELES — The final El Trafico meeting between the Galaxy and Los Angeles Football Club was again loaded with more plot twists than a TV drama.

The Galaxy went down a man in the first half, fought its way into the game until Danny Musovski’s goal in the 58th minute, which followed a controversial non-call.

Then in the final stages of added time, Carlos Vela, making his first appearance since Aug. 22, scored to put the finishing touches on a 2-0 LAFC win at Banc of California Stadium on Sunday.

The teams split their four meetings this season.

“Good team win,” LAFC coach Bob Bradley said. “It’s never easy to break down a team when they go down a man and defend with everybody behind the ball.

“I think there were moments when our use of touches and our ability to move the ball quicker, mix up our passes, could have been better, but ultimately we created some good opportunities, took advantage and we’re satisfied with that.”

The win moved LAFC (8-7-4, 28 points) into fourth place in the Western Conference. At the other end of the spectrum is the Galaxy (5-10-3, 18 points), which remains in last place with 18 points, six points out of the eighth and final playoff spot.

“I think it would be pointless to focus on the call against us,” Galaxy midfielder Sacha Kljestan said. “What I choose to focus on is the way we battled, the way we gave ourselves a chance. … The guys in the locker room are gutted. We have to focus on the positives and move on.”

Two big calls went against the Galaxy.

The game changed quickly in the 25th minute as Galaxy defender Giancarlo Gonzalez was given a red card for a foul on Diego Rossi, which denied an obvious goal-scoring opportunity.

Initially, Stott pointed to the penalty spot, but after going to the video review, he ruled that the foul occurred outside of the 18-yard box, but Gonzalez’s red card stood, leaving the Galaxy down to 10 men.

“We were kind of chasing after that,” Galaxy midfielder Sebastian Lletget said. “At the end of the day we lost big points that we needed.”

Despite being down a man, the Galaxy put up a fight and kept the game scoreless until the next big moment.

In the second half, the Galaxy believed it was done wrong on the sequence of plays that led to Musovski’s goal in the second half.

LAFC defender Eddie Segura appeared to play the ball over the line, but the assistant referee let play continue. After consecutive passes, Musovski chipped the ball over the head of Galaxy goalkeeper Jonathan Klinsmann for the opening goal.

“The big mistake was with VAR (Video Assistant Review) with the first goal,” Galaxy coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto said. “It was very clear the ball was out. I don’t know why VAR didn’t call that.”

The goal was Musovski’s fifth this season and first in the LAFC-Galaxy rivalry.

“Of course, you know, whenever you can score in a derby game, that’s big time,” Musovski said. “We know that the fans want us to win this game so much, and, yeah, to get the goal to win the game and, yeah, it’s a good feeling.”

The Galaxy was without star forward Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez due to a hamstring injury the club said he picked up in training. Hernandez missed all four of the meetings with LAFC.

Schelotto said Hernandez felt something in his hamstring on Thursday and the club waited the next two days to see if he would be available.

For LAFC, both Vela and Tristan Blackmon returned from injury as second-half substitutes. Vela’s goal was his third this season. He entered the game in the 70th minute.

“It means a lot to everybody that Carlos not only gets back on the field after being out for a while, but then scores an excellent goal,” Bradley said. “It’s been really good just to have him back in training.”

Both teams will play Wednesday, Oct. 28, with the Galaxy visiting the Portland Timbers and LAFC hosting the Houston Dynamo.