Global Sports News

Raheem Edwards: LA Galaxy ‘mentality’ key to overcoming LAFC in El Trafico US Open Cup clash

At least at home, the LA Galaxy continue to have the number of El Trafico rivals LAFC – that much is for sure.

A dominant second-half display saw the Galaxy run out 3-1 winners over their fiercest foes on Wednesday night, with goals from Kevin Cabral, Chicharito, and Dejan Joveljic sealing their spot in the US Open Cup quarter-finals.

Though LAFC have grown into this rivalry on their own patch, the Galaxy now hold a 6-0-2 all-time record over the Black and Gold at Dignity Health Sports Park.

Having played in this fixture three times for LAFC before crossing the divide this winter, Raheem Edwards knows the rivalries’ intricacies more than most. In his view, there’s a huge mental block at play for LAFC that the Galaxy are taking full advantage of.

“I think it’s a mental thing. They know that when they come here, it’s not going to be an easy game,” said Edwards, who assisted Joveljic’s clinching goal in the 81st minute. “It’s just the rivalry in general. Being away from home in a rivalry is not easy. They know it’s not an easy task. So I think it maybe it creeps up the back of their mind.

“Me being on the LAFC side, I know when I came here to Dignity Health Sports Park, I knew it was going be a hard game.”

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– Raheem Edwards on El Trafico

Edwards had already raised the stakes for this clash ahead of kick-off, declaring his intention to ‘piss off’ LAFC’s 3252 supporters’ group. And in the end, it was a very heated affair with multiple flair-ups – especially when Julian Araujo held a Galaxy jersey aloft to the traveling LAFC fans.

But for Edwards, this is exactly what El Trafico and MLS as a whole need; an undercurrent to fuel the fire on the pitch.

“This one was the most heated game, for sure, for sure – well, the ones that I’ve played so far. It’s good, I think the rivalry needs this,” he said. “It’s always too nice, I think, in MLS; you see teams in the NBA and stuff like that, you need a little bit of grittiness, you need a little bit of fight and a little bit of drama. So I thought this was perfect.”

When asked to address his pre-game comments, Edwards added: “Because I need to get my guys fired up, and I also want the drama. I think MLS is a little too soft in terms of players – I think players are too conservative, they don’t want to look like the bad guy … I’m not even trying to be the bad guy. I’m just trying to light the fire up between both sides and my players.”

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