Week 20 of the 2019 Major League Soccer season was jam-packed for our Mexicans abroad, as both the Los Angeles Galaxy and Los Angeles Football Club faced off in another “El Tráfico”. Meanwhile, Marco Fabian reminded us all why he is one of the best long-range shot takers in recent Mexican history. Here’s what we learned from Week 20.
Antuna, Jona and the Galaxy take “El Tráfico”
What a performance from the Galaxy! From start to finish, LAFC were completely outmatched, both physically and in intensity. Though the Black and Gold jumped to an early lead, it was Zlatan Ibrahimovic who stole the show, scoring three times to give the five-time MLS Cup champs another “El Tráfico” victory.
Let’s get it out of the way. This wasn’t a game about stats or anything of that nature. You can throw all of that to the trash. This game was about the hustle and bustle and the willingness to win.
In some respect, there was a Latin American vibe to the way the Galaxy pressed, and it personified perfectly the saying “los Clásicos se ganan”. This was none more obvious than when Uriel Antuna tracked back to make a spectacular last-ditch tackle on a goal-bound Diego Rossi.
As for Jonathan dos Santos, his work-rate was stellar. Sometimes you have to put the Barca DNA to the side and do the dirty work. Jonathan did that.
Vela still thinks he is the best player in MLS
Obviously, on the there side of things there is Carlos Vela. The 30-year-old forward added to his scoring tally by netting twice, but he was ultimately upstaged by Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who was quite candid about those who dared to compare him with the LAFC goalscorer.
Carlos Vela answered back by saying he is still best player in Major League Soccer and that the stats certainly back it up.
Vela addresses the Zlatan comparisons.— Fut Mex Nation (@FutMexNation) July 20, 2019
“Look, to compare me to Zlatan overall is an insult to him. But right now, in terms of stats and regardless of age. I’m better than Zlatan.” #LAvLAFC #MLS #ElTrafico pic.twitter.com/fyc9aisKNP
Now, there wasn’t anything particularly terrible about Vela’s performance. At the end of the day, he scored two goals. The problem is LAFC coach Bob Bradley has spoken in length about “needing to take that next step”, and in the past, he has spoken particularly about Vela needing to take more of a leadership role. Here, the Galaxy’s physicality and intensity seemed to have taken Vela completely out of the match, and in the process, that insecurity seemed to have rubbed off on the rest of the team.
It could be that Vela is more of a quiet leader and not the rally the troops kind of guy, but if LAFC plan on taking that “next step”, they are first going to need to be able to find that in-game mental resilience from somewhere. Because while in the big picture this might be just another game, LAFC will more than likely find themselves in a similar position come Playoff time.
Marco Fabian can still score golazos
Not everything Mexican in Major League Soccer is in Los Angeles. Marco Fabian reminded us all that he still plays for the best team in the Eastern Conference by scoring a golazo in the Philadelphia Union’s 2-0 win over the Chicago Fire.
Fabian is a bonafide distance shooter, which begs to ask: who do you think is the best Mexican distance shooter currently playing?