El Trafico to Open Up the Season
LAFC kicks off the 2023 season by facing off against city rivals the LA Galaxy. This will mark the clubs sixth season since coming into existence in 2018. They also boast an impressive 6-0 record when it comes to opening day. Adding to the pressure is that this game won’t be played at either of the home teams stadium. Instead, LAFC and LA Galaxy will battle it out at the historic Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena. While the venue and setting look to be epic, the game might lack in excitement. As both teams just concluded preseason and are not 100% to go. Also include that there is a possibility of inclement weather the match might not live up to the hype. Both sides could have to prepare to play without an essential player. As Ilie Sanchez picked up an injury and is in doubt for the match. Meanwhile for the Galaxy ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez could also miss the match due to a right hamstring injury he sustained in training.
Departures From Both Teams
Apart from injures both sides have seen departures of key players. LAFC lost Gareth Bale as he decided to retire from professional football. They also transferred their second longest tenured player in Latif Blessing to the New England Revolution. Cristian Tello headed off to Saudi Arabia, Jhegson Mendez went to Sao Paulo, Franco Escobar joined the Houston Dynamo, and Sebastian Ibeagha joined FC Dallas. However, their biggest blow is losing their top striker Cristian ‘Chicho’ Arango to Liga MX side Pachuca. Meanwhile the Galaxy have lost Kevin Cabral to the Colorado Rapids, Nick DePuy to Nashville, Samuel Grandsir went back to France and Sacha Kljestan retired. Their most notable departure was the selling of right back Julian Araujo to FC Barcelona. Both teams are dealing with key losses and add that each team has injuries to key players, this derby is sure to have a few new names step up.
What Should We Expect
There are high expectations for LAFC, but this season will likely be different as compared to last year. The main issue is not having a striker and while in the past it has worked for the club, there are many competitions LAFC will be in, and substitutes will be needed. Playing in Concacaf Champions League, U.S Open Cup, Leagues Nation, and the regular season will be a daunting task. Rotations are not only a must they will be necessary if the club intends to focus on all the competitions. However, this doesn’t mean that LAFC should slack off or go 50% in each tournament, we still expect this club to preform to the best of their ability. It is go time! LAFC finally delivered an MLS title and now they must continue to show why they are dominant force not just in the West but in all of MLS!