El Tráfico debutante and veteran the heroes for the Galaxy in another classic

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Los Angeles, California – Los Angeles Galaxy defender Julian Araujo and new signing Dejan Joveljic starred in another instant classic El Tráfico match on Saturday that ended 3-3 against crosstown rivals LAFC at Banc of California Stadium.

El Tráfico debutante and veteran the heroes for the Gs in another classic

In just his fourth match in Los Angeles and his first El Tráfico, Joveljic wasted no time in endearing himself to blue, white, and gold hearts scoring his first and second goals for the Galaxy. 

And what a game to do it in. 

The Serbian striker would take advantage of a defensive miscue in the LAFC defense on 20 minutes to pounce on a loose ball and deftly chip it over oncoming goalkeeper Tomas Romero to give the Galaxy the 1-0 lead and send defenders flying into each other in desperate attempts to clear the goal-bound strike.

Caught up in the emotions of his first El Tráfico but not at all fazed by it, Joveljic would address the home support by bringing his fingers to his ears in the classic gesture for, “I can’t hear you.”  

Joveljic’s audacious finish suggests a player confident in his abilities and if his first goal was classy; his second was clinical.

With the Galaxy reeling after going down 2-1 to a dodgy penalty just before the end of the first half and a Brian Rodriguez goal on 59 minutes of the second, Joveljic collected a well-worked ball by Sebastian Lletget and Julian Araujo on the left flank of the 18-yard box, squared his body, and fired it past Romero with his left foot low and hard into the right bottom corner.

After scoring to level the score 2-2, Joveljic immediately ran over to celebrate with the G’s that had made the journey into enemy territory and take selfies, because it is Los Angeles after all.

Head Coach Greg Vanney was full of praise for his striker’s performance:

“For Dejan, that’s his thing. He’s a goal scorer and has a career because he puts the ball in the back of the net. Obviously, he needs a little time to adapt to his teammates, his team, and the league, and all the things that are there for him to reach his full potential and continue to grow as a player,” Vanney said of the brace-scoring forward.

“For him to get a couple of goals tonight and to get things started and to have that joy of putting the ball in the back of the night was wonderful.”

The forward’s second goal was set up by Araujo, who notched his fifth assist of the season on the play.

The Lompoc lad clearly revels in playing LAFC. With nine appearances in El Tráfico, he has the second-most in the match behind Lletget. 

His experience in El Tráfico helped him have the awareness to pick up the loose ball at the top of the LAFC box and the patience to pick out Lletget so he could serve up the goal.

His sixth assist of the season is the reason Araujo is on the radar of some of the biggest clubs in Europe and the subject of another tug of war between the USMNT and Mexico.

With the Galaxy trailing again 3-2 on 86 minutes, a brilliant Efraín Álvarez pass let Araujo get to the touchline on the right flank. Araujo picked up his head and played back an exquisite ball into the middle of the box for Kévin Cabral to pass into the LAFC net.  

And yes, Cabral sure kept his cool to score, but Araujo put it on a platter for the Frenchman to level the score 3-3 where it would end.

“Obviously, we wanted to come away with three points, but we came away with one. Playing at their stadium is very difficult, especially with their fans. It’s good that we held on our side and we kept fighting. We’re all glad that we’re coming away with a point. Every point in this league counts, so we’re glad we’ve got one,” the 20-year-old Araujo confessed.

The young El Tráfico veteran Araujo and the El Tráfico debutante Joveljic turned in fine performances to make sure that Los Angeles remains blue, white, and gold after a 2-1 Galaxy win last May and a tie on the day.

The pair also sets up an October El Tráfico sure to be another instant classic.

Three Key Takeaways:

Araujo-enjoy him while you can: Every week, Julian Araujo shows why he probably won’t be with the Galaxy much longer. With six assists so far this season, the Galaxy attack hits another level when he can get forward. A big club in Europe is sure to come calling for him soon.

The Galaxy showed resiliency to get the draw: The Galaxy fell behind twice and twice tied the score. It may not seem like much, but in a rivalry game away, it sure will help the team out mentally. More importantly, they snapped their two-game skid.

LA’s defense still has work to do: Not much to say here other than giving up three goals to a team that hasn’t scored over two goals in a game all season is not a good look. Bond definitely kept this one close, again.

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