Los Angeles FC-Galaxy Preview

National Sports

LA Galaxy forward Javier Hernandez declared his faith in his side as they prepare to host Los Angeles FC.

The Galaxy are winless in their last eight, slipping to sixth in the Western Conference but remain four points ahead of playoff-chasing Vancouver Whitecaps.

After going down 2-1 to Real Salt Lake on Thursday, the hosts collected their third loss in as many games but Hernandez insisted he has faith in his team-mates ahead of a crucial match in terms of the playoff race.

“We are just one result away to change this momentum for sure,” Hernandez said. “I believe in my club. I believe in this organization. I believe in my teammates. I believe in myself. LA Galaxy supporters, it sounds very cliché, but there’s nothing else we can do.

“We are the first ones that we are very hurt in the dressing room. We are the first ones who are pointing fingers to try to improve. Every single one of us.

“Tomorrow, we’re going to rest and then prepare the other game because we know how it means for all of you and for all of us. So I just want to make clear that we are responsible.”

Los Angeles are ninth, five points behind their local rivals and four away from seventh-place Minnesota United, and most recently lost 2-1 to Portland Timbers.

In similar fashion to the Galaxy, the visitors have also lost three consecutive games and head coach Bob Bradley called for unity to end their poor run of form.

“Collectively we have to find a stronger way to stick together and not give up in a year where its been incredible how many tough moments we’ve had to deal with,” Bradley said.

“We’re not giving up, I’m proud of the team and right now we’re going through an unlikely period but [team morale] continues to be strong as we prepare to pick ourselves up and get ready.”

PLAYERS TO WATCH

LA Galaxy – Javier Hernandez

Javier Hernandez netted his 12th goal in the 2-1 loss against Real Salt Lake last game. The Mexico forward has achieved the tally in just 14 starts, seven more than any other team-mate.

Los Angeles FC – Carlos Vela

Carlos Vela is on a four-game goal drought as he eyes a potential return in the El Trafico. The Mexico forward has only endured a longer drought once – a six-game run last season – and he may see the derby as the perfect way to announce his return.

KEY OPTA FACTS

●This will be the 13th edition of El Tráfico in MLS (including playoffs) and the third this season with the Galaxy collecting four points in the first two games. LAFC has just one win in the last five meetings (D1 L3) after winning two in a row in the 2019 playoffs and MLS is Back.

●The Galaxy’s winless run extended to eight games (D3 L5) after a 2-1 defeat to Real Salt Lake on Wednesday, the longest active winless run in MLS. LA has collected three points since mid-August, fewest in the league in that time.

●LAFC has lost nine of its 13 away matches this season, only four teams have more road defeats in MLS in 2021. Dating back to September 2019, LAFC has kept just two clean sheets in 25 away matches, with a record of W4 D5 L16 in that time (incl. playoffs).

●Efraín Álvarez recorded the primary assist on Chicharito’s goal Wednesday, the ninth different Galaxy player to set up a Chicharito goal this season as no Galaxy player has more than one primary assist for Chicharito in 2021 (3 unassisted).

●Carlos Vela, who could return from injury Sunday, has struggled to find his form this season. Vela has failed to score in four straight matches, only going longer without a goal once in his MLS career, a six-game run from last season’s playoffs through June 2021.

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