My wife knew we were close to the Rose Bowl when we hit a traffic jam. After a man cut me off, she asked, “Is this why we left so early?”
The LA Galaxy faced LAFC in their old stomping grounds, the Rose Bowl.
When we began our journey to the Rose Bowl for the postponed match between the LA Galaxy and LAFC, our Maps app stated we’d arrive at the stadium at 6 pm. We parked at 6:45 and didn’t reach our seats until 7:15.
There was an electrifying buzz in the air of the sold-out Rose Bowl. The streets leading up to the stadium were jammed with traffic. Thousands of fans anxiously rushed into the parking lot. A man almost caused a car accident that would have altered the day’s vibe. The rude fan’s statement was clear, soccer in America is here to stay, and nothing is stopping the sport’s growth.
In the next couple of years, US soil will host the Copa America, FIFA’s Club World Cup, the World Cup, and the Olympics, and Messi will be playing in the MLS. On Tuesday’s 4th of July match, the Rose Bowl crowd broke the attendance record with 82,110 fans cheering for LA’s teams. The record could be broken sooner rather than later.
Hope & A Dream
While awaiting entry, a man who seemed to overindulge in alcoholic beverages taped my shoulder and declared:
“The Galaxy is going to take the game tonight,” as he held onto his partner. Both seemed to be holding each other up as I replied, “Let’s hope they win tonight.”
“That’s all we have, hope and a dream,” the fan said.
After starting the season with zero wins in their first 7 matches, dealing with a boycott by the fans that demanded the team release Chris Klein, the Galaxy have been undefeated in their last 5 matches. During their run, the Galaxy have only come out victorious in one of the games.
Meanwhile, their crosstown rivals, LAFC, remain at the top of the Western Conference but entered the match having lost their last two matches against Vancouver and Dallas. The Galaxy entered the match in their best form since the season began but full of injuries. Caceres will miss 3-5 months, and Hernandez will miss the rest of the season.
The Galaxy took the lead in minute 26th on a brazer by Tyler Boyd. After receiving the ball in the midfield, Puig avoids Acosta and runs down the middle of the field. Spotting Boyd’s clear path, Puig passes the ball to him in the box. After spinning off the defense, Boyd strikes a brazer into the back of the net. His goal gave the Galaxy an early lead.
The Galaxy supporters erupted in a cheer by taking control of the atmosphere. Their fans chanted at the top of their lungs. A man sitting down the stands from me pushed through his loss of voice to continue his cheering. The supporters overtook the noise in the building. The energy projected itself on the field as the Galaxy had total control of the game after their goal as they led the game in possession.
Minutes after the second half started, LAFC tied the game on a corner header by Ilie Sanchez. On a cross by Tillman, Sanchez passed a header past Klinsmann, who replaced Bond at the half. LAFC supporters felt the shift of energy. One of their young supporters sitting before me took his shirt off and celebrated the goal.
I paid respect to the celebration, and the kid responded with no hesitation:
“I want to do it again.”
In the 72nd minute, Boyd returned the assist to Puig, who found the back of the net on the cross. After an LAFC set piece, the Galaxy broke away on a counterattack led by Douglas Costa, who switched the game to the opposite side onto Boyd. Puig rushed down the middle of the field and found the cross by Boyd.
Puig celebrated the goal by conducting the crowd in the same manner he conducted the ball on the field.
Vela found the back of the net, but as soon as the kid turned around to brag about his prediction becoming a reality, the sideline ref lifted his flag and called an offside.
It’s Called Soccer
After the final whistle, the Galaxy team celebrated their short reclaim of the city after winning the rivalry match.
The Galaxy players celebrated with the supporters while carrying red roses. The celebration induced an energy that can metaphorize America’s love for the sport.
LA Galaxy won the record-breaking match between LAFC, but soccer in America is the clear winner.