It can be hard to believe that El Tráfico is one of the newest rivalries in American sports. There have been four meetings in two years between MLS mainstay Los Angeles Galaxy and relative newcomer Los Angeles Football Club, and in that time, it’s managed to turn itself into one of the most acrimonious and drama-filled rivalries in the entire league.
It’s the sort of thing that doesn’t quite gel with the mellow nature of southern California. Certainly some levity could be brought to the situation, and during Sunday’s matchup between the two sides, Galaxy legend Cobi Jones and comedian Andy Daly will do their best to lighten the mood.
The pair will team up to provide play-by-play during Sunday’s match for Funny or Die, which will broadcast the duo on its various channels in partnership with Heineken. Jones’ bonafides, both as a professional footballer who spent most of his career with the Galaxy and as a television analyst for the sport, are unimpeachable. As for Daly, well, the universe is all about balance, and he certainly acts as a counter-weight in this situation.
“You know what?” Daly asked after reflecting on his brief time playing the sport as a child. “This is going to be the first game of soccer I’ve ever watched. Cobi, that’s exciting.”
In the world of American footy, you’re going to be hard-pressed to find a better matchup for nascent viewers. The most recent meeting between the two sides packed more storylines into two hours than anything we saw out of the final season of Game of Thrones: LAFC, led by standout forward and league MVP frontrunner Carlos Vela, was (and, in fairness, still is) the best team in the league, eager to pick up their first win against their SoCal denizens.
The issue is that the Galaxy feature Zlatan Ibrahimovic, one of the greatest goal scorers of his generation who has never been afraid to speak his mind. Ibra told ESPN that MLS was not on par with European leagues, infamously referred to himself as “a Ferrari among Fiats,” and boasted that he is “by far” better than Vela. He then scored three goals and was clearly the best player on the pitch in a 3-2 Galaxy victory, rendering the fact that Vela scored twice moot and giving him six goals in four appearances against LAFC. There was also a whole thing about the away supporters claiming they had their tickets canceled, so they showed up wearing camo.
There’s a whole lot of bad blood at such an early juncture that Jones agrees with the assessment that the league has caught “lightning in a bottle.” Even Daly can’t help but sound excited as he’s brought up to speed on the acrimony between the sides, even if he compares his ignorance about the sport to the galaxy, calling it “vast” and saying “it knows no end.”