LA Galaxy vs. Los Angeles FC: Saturday Major League Soccer Betting Odds, Picks & Prediction for El Tráfico (May 8)
Meg Oliphant/Getty Images. Pictured: Javier Hernandez.
- The latest edition of El Trafico kicks off Saturday night, but the rivalry may be without one of the stars at full health.
- LAFC's Carlos Vela has only played 21 minutes this season, and even if fit, it's unlikely he'll see a full 90 minutes.
- Ian Quillen explains why he's backing the Galaxy to pick up their first win against a top-tier team this season.
El Tráfico: LA Galaxy vs. LAFC Odds
|LA Galaxy Odds||+240|
|Over/Under||3.5 (+108 / -147)|
|Day | Time||Saturday | 8 p.m. ET|
|Odds updated Friday afternoon via DraftKings.|
Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez will play his first El Tráfico rivalry in front of supporters on Saturday.
The question is whether former Mexico international teammate Carlos Vela will also be there when Chicharito’s LA Galaxy hosts Vela’s LAFC on Saturday evening.
Vela’s manager Bob Bradley was non-committal on the 2019 MLS Golden Boot winner’s fitness for the nationally televised encounter, after Vela missed two games with a right knee injury he picked up early in Week 1.
Even if healthy, it’s unclear if Vela could be fit enough to start after playing only 21 minutes so far in 2021.
The duo of longtime international teammates last faced each other as opponents when Vela’s Real Sociedad hosted Chicharito’s Manchester United in November of 2013 in the UEFA Champions League.
After Chicharito scored five times in two games to open 2021, the Galaxy star came crashing to earth in a 3-0 loss at Seattle last Sunday.
Seattle limited Chicharito to only one shot off target — worth only 0.3 expected goals (xG), according to StatsBomb — after he totaled 3.1 xG over the first two weeks.
Midfielder Sebastian Lletget should be available to return to manager Greg Vanney’s starting XI Saturday after serving a two-match suspension.
The American international is a sometimes overlooked but is a deceptively important supporting piece of the Galaxy’s attack. He contributed six goals and three assists in 21 appearances last season.
While Vela remains a question, the Galaxy welcomed defending Golden Boot winner Diego Rossi back to Bradley’s XI last week in Houston for his 2021 debut.
Rossi surprised some observers by shaking off a hamstring injury that kept him out of the first two weeks and going the full 90 minutes. He had two shots and generated 0.5 xG, according to StatsBomb.
The match finished 1-1, a satisfactory result for a squad that is still shorthanded.
Corey Baird scored his second goal for his new club. The former Real Salt Lake attacker is emerging as the latest in a string of shrewd acquisitions by Bradley and president/GM John Thorrington to give LAFC attacking depth.
Betting Analysis & Pick
The Galaxy fell short in their first test against the league’s top tier, but I like their chances to earn a result in their second such test for two reasons:
- Lletget’s return should allow Vanney to be more comfortable playing the 4-4-2 that has proved crucial to unlocking Chicharito up top.
- Vela remains statistically the most irreplaceable player in MLS, even if we haven’t seen his health best since 2019. (Reminder: this is why I backed the Sounders to earn a point at LAFC in Week 2.)
At best, I don’t suspect Vela will be 90-minutes fit, and I’d be shocked if Bradley feels it’s wise to push the 32-year-old’s minutes in Week 4.
So I like the home team’s chances of earning at least a point more than the oddsmakers. I’ll take a double-chance, LA Galaxy or draw bet at +120, with an implied probability a fraction under 55%.
Pick: LA Galaxy or draw, double chance (+120)