Los Angeles FC beats LA Galaxy to advance in MLS playoffs

October 25, 2019

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Carlos Vela scored two goals in the first half and set up Diego Rossi's tiebreaking goal in the second half, and Los Angeles FC advanced to the MLS Western Conference final with a wild 5-3 victory over the LA Galaxy on Thursday night in the first postseason edition of this city rivalry.

Adama Diomande added two goals in the second half as top-seeded LAFC earned the 2-year-old franchise's first postseason victory. LAFC also beat the Galaxy for the first time in the sixth chapter of the lively crosstown derby dubbed El Tráfico.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic had a goal and an assist in perhaps his final game for the Galaxy while both teams put on a dazzling offensive show in front of a raucous sellout crowd near downtown Los Angeles.

LAFC advanced to face the Seattle Sounders in the Western Conference final on Tuesday night at Banc of California Stadium. The winner faces Toronto FC or Atlanta United for the MLS Cup on Nov. 10.

After Vela staked LAFC to an early lead with a dominant performance befitting the forward who just set the MLS single-season record with 34 goals, Diomande scored twice as a second-half substitute in his first game in a month.

LAFC needed all that offense to hold off Ibrahimovic. The 38-year-old Swedish superstar set up Cristian Pavón's goal and then drilled home a tying goal early in the second half, his ninth against LAFC in less than two MLS seasons.

Galaxy star Romain Alessandrini then set up a header by Rolf Feltscher in the 77th minute to trim LAFC's lead to 4-3, but Diomande rampaged downfield to chip home the clinching goal in the 80th minute.

ATLANTA UNITED 2, UNION 0

ATLANTA (AP) — Julian Gressel scored in the 10th minute, Josef Martinez added a late goal and defending champion Atlanta United beat Philadelphia to advance to the Eastern Conference final.

United will host Toronto FC on Wednesday night. Toronto beat top-seed New York City FC 2-1 on the road Wednesday night.

Pity Martinez came on a ball in about 35 yards in front of goal and sent a diagonal pass right ahead of Gressel. The ball entered the box ahead of Gressel, but he got to it before Philadelphia goalkeeper Andre Blake and touched it left around him to the far post for the score.

Gressel assisted on the Martinez goal, when the striker got forward down the left side and the curled a left footer into the top left corner.

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