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El Tráfico: What are the predicted line-ups for LAFC and LA Galaxy’s 2022 MLS playoff semi-final?

Full strength squads at the ready for both Steve Cherundolo and Greg Vanney in the huge LAFC vs LA Galaxy semi-final clash

Joe Brennan
¿Por qué el LAFC-LA Galaxy se conoce como El Tráfico?
Twitter/ @LAGalaxy/@LAFC

If neither manager got to sleep last night, it wasn’t for worrying about the fun of the game to come. LAFC host LA Galaxy in the Western Conference semi-final on Thursday and the two teams look primed to give the rivalry yet another classic match for the history books.

LAFC boss Cherundolo: “It’s like a World Cup”

The high pressing of Steve Cherundolo’s side definitely reflects his excitement for the competition, and his team’s application of the ‘pedal to the metal’ football shows that it is not just the boss who is committed to the cause. And not only do LAFC possess a style that causes teams to wither and shrink and make it look like there are somehow more black and gold shirts than the rest, but they also have plenty of bottles of nitrous oxide to strap to the chassis. Gareth Bale and Cristian Tello can be summoned to provide a spark if needed, although that has seldom had to be the case for LAFC so far this season.

Carlos Vela had been a slight worry for Cherundolo but the manager calmed the nerves of the fans, giving an injury update on him and the rest of the squad. His minutes were reduced against Nashville but the Mexican forward should be fit and firing for the clash against the Galaxy.

The boss commented on the longevity of the matches during this tournament as well a hint at some changes to the way they might play: “it is like a World Cup, “it’s never the best team that wins, it’s the team in the best form. There is overtime and penalties, which does not happen in the normal competition. And that’s how we’re treating it, as a new competition.”

Do LA Galaxy play matches with 12 players?

If it’s a squad with impact that will hold the key to the game, then LA Galaxy are not going to lie down and let LAFC run over them. The team currently has no injury worries, and will look to line up with a full-strength side. Vanney’s side have reams of talent all over the pitch, and new inclusions to the squad have made sure that they are not to be taken lightly. Midfield recruit Riqui Puig had stalled completely at FC Barcelona, but has been reborn in MLS, with 3 goals and 2 assists in just 10 matches for the Galaxy.

He has played 90 minutes 7 times this season and LAFC must find a way to make sure the Catalan isn’t able to feed Chicharito through the middle of the pitch as that FC Barcelona DNA makes Puig appear to pop up in two places at once.

But it could be off the bench where LA Galaxy actually overtake LAFC. Serbian Dejan Jovelvić has netted a frankly astonishing 11 goals in 25 substitute appearances. Chicharito would likely make way for the change to happen, and if the Mexican marksman does not break his underwhelming tally of 0 goals in playoff matches, we may well see the Serbian come on and make the difference.

Fans with tickets for this game will surely be in for a treat, with the two teams evenly matched at both ends of the pitch, making any prediction very easy to justify either way.

Riqui Puig, el nuevo Jugador Franquicia de LA Galaxy para la MLS 2023
Full screen

LAFC vs La Galaxy (possible starting XIs)

LAFC: Crépeau; Palacios, Murillo, Segura, Hollingshead; Sánchez, Acosta, Cifuentes; Vela, Arango, Bouanga

LA Galaxy: Bond; Edwards, Cáceres, Coulibaly, Araujo; Delgado, Brugman, Puig; Cabral, Chicharito, Grandsir

Referee: Allen Chapman

Stadium: Banc of California Stadium, Los Angeles

Kick-off: 4 a.m. CEST / 7 p.m. PDT / 10 p.m. EDT


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