Diego Rossi erupted with four goals as LAFC knocked off rival the LA Galaxy 6-2 on Saturday in Group F play of the MLS is Back Tournament at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex near Orlando, Florida.
LAFC moved alone into second place in Group F with four points, while the Galaxy has failed to earn a tournament point in two games. The Portland Timbers lead the group with six points.
It was LAFC’s first victory over the Galaxy in what is considered a regular-season game. Now in their third year of existence, LAFC’s only previous victory over the Galaxy was in last year’s MLS Cup playoffs. The teams have played to a tie three times.
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The Galaxy stayed competitive without two of their top offensive players: forward Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez (calf) and midfielder Jonathan dos Santos (hernia). LAFC forward, and reigning MLS MVP, Carlos Vela opted out of the tournament.
The Galaxy jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the fifth minute after an own goal. The Galaxy’s Sebastian Lletget tried to slide a centering pass through the penalty area and LAFC’s Latif Blessing directed it into his own goal.
LAFC evened the score 1-1 in the 13th minute when Rossi scored on a penalty kick that was earned by Bradley Wright-Phillips, after he was fouled by the Galaxy’s Perry Kitchen.
The Galaxy moved back on top 2-1 in the 31st minute after Cristian Pavon scored on a penalty kick that was earned by Joe Corona. But LAFC tied it again 2-2 in first-half stoppage time when Rossi scored on the rebound of a Wright-Phillips shot that was saved by Galaxy goalkeeper David Bingham.
The two Galaxy goals in 31 minutes matched their entire total in the first three games of the season.
A massive swing in momentum led to LAFC’s 3-2 lead. Pavon appeared to give the Galaxy a lead in the 54th minute, but he was ruled to be offside. Two minutes later Wright-Phillips scored on the other end, his second of the tournament.
Rossi scored his third of the game in the 75th minute, with substitute Mohamed El-Munir adding a fifth goal on a left-footed shot in the 80th minute. Rossi’s final goal came in stoppage time.
There were seven yellow cards handed out in the physical meeting.