The Los Angeles Galaxy were in a slump. Three straight league games without a win. Javier Chicharito Hernandez had not scored since the last El Tráfico. The team had been struggling offensively. On Wednesday night they hosted Los Angeles FC in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. Maybe the magic of the cup is exactly what the Gs needed.
Kévin Cabral ignites 3-1 win in first ever Open Cup El Tráfico
The first half was cagy with more fouls that shot attempts. LAFC fans had reason to worry as Carlos Vela was subbed off 20 minutes in with a possible quad injury. Kwadwo Opoku subbed in for him. The match boiled over on 37 minutes with players from both teams coming together for a shoving match.
The game started to open up in the second half. LAFC got into good positions in possession but could not turn those moments into shots on goal. The Galaxy meanwhile found success on the counter.
Six minutes into the half, Jonathan Klinsmann distributed the ball quickly after collecting it in his penalty area. Samuel Grandsir dribbled forward that whipped a ball into the box. Cabral ran into open space and directed the ball off the post and in.
Then in the 57th minute, Chicharito made it 2-0. Cabral won the ball in the defensive third and the Gs got out in transition. Two passes later saw Grandsir find Chicharito for a sliding shot inside the opposite post.
The score line played to the host’s advantage. LAFC had to put more numbers into the attack, leaving themselves vulnerable in transition. Dejan Joveljic made it 3-0 in the 81st, adding to his tally of goals against the black and gold.
Substitute Ryan Hollingshead pulled one back four minutes later but the comeback fell short. The match ended 3-1. A second shoving match ensued after the final whistle with coaching staffs from both teams needed to separate the players.
Smooooth with it! 😎
— U.S. Open Cup (@opencup) May 26, 2022
Kévin Cabral and Chicharito end scoring droughts: Cabral has been heavily criticized by Galaxy supporters and pundits. He needed a performance like this and a goal to start the big win. Chicharito’s goal was fitting for him in transition. Greg Vanney simplified things tactically. They did the little things well. This led to a needed offensive outburst.
Injury concerns for Vela: LAFC fans could be checking their phones nervously over the next couple of days. Steve Cherundolo put out a good lineup. Losing Vela hampered their attack. They’re out of the cup. We’ve seen what injuries can do to Vela’s and LAFC’s season if it’s in anyway serious.
El Tráfico and Open Cup Magic: The Galaxy remain unbeaten against LAFC at home in eight matches. This fixture brings out the best in them. The Open Cup magic was needed. It’s up to them to use this result to turn things around in league play. The Gs host Austin FC on Sunday at 3 PM PT.