Kamara holds the Kei to spoil Galaxy party.

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LAFC captured first place in the Western Conference with a 2-1 victory in the El  Tráfico derby against LA Galaxy. Goals from Kei Kamara and Denis Bouanga were enough to clinch victory, despite a second half revival from the hosts.

Galaxy fans outnumbered the visitors in the huge crowd of 70,076, despite the fact that their usual home venue is further from Pasadena that LAFC’s BMO Stadium in Downtown LA. Galaxy the more established club though. Galaxy fans occupied the South End. The visiting supporters on the North End. 

Golden Boot winner Bouanga fired into the side netting in the open exchanges and the Frenchman also caused problems with a mazy run into the home defence moments later. Hugo Lloris saved smartly from Riqui Puig on the counter as the fans enjoyed a lively start.

Colombian Eduard Atuesta hit a post for LAFC after neat build up play. Bouanga continued to threaten. The visitors seemed to find it easy to pick their way through the home formation of 4-2-3-1, though the smoke from the home fans’ pyrotechnics was no aid to visibility in the press box..

There was no mistaking the influence of Timothy Tillman in midfield for LAFC though. He was pulling the strings, forcing Galaxy to rely on the counter.

Kamara scooped over as you sensed that a goal was near.

And it was in fact Kamara who obliged with a firm header on 39 minutes. Gleeful celebrations from the Sierra Leone striker.

That man Bouanga gave the scoreline a realistic appearance with a penalty to put the hosts two up at the break. VAR influenced the decision of referee Drew Fischer to award a kick from the spot.

Gabriel Pec pulled one back for LA Galaxy from eight yards out to ignite the spirits of the home fans after 56 minutes, but the match stats told their own story of the dominance exerted by LAFC. 22 shots to 10. Three from the impressive Kamara and a whopping eight from fellow scorer Bouanga.

Calls are already strong to make this fixture an annual event. Few in the vast crowd would contest that.

Even the flare that was ignited behind the south goal in the closing minutes of the game and blanketed the field with smoke, failed to mask the enjoyment of a wonderful event. Fireworks followed the game as fans lapped it  all up.

As July 4 celebrations go, it doesn’t come better than this.

David Collins

 

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