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How and where to watch the MLS is Back Tournament, July 18, 2020: El Trafico, Dynamo vs Timbers preview and broadcast information

July 18, 2020 By Juan Aguerrevere
The Portland Timbers will be taking on the Houston Dynamo in the first Group F matchup of Saturday evening, followed by the seventh edition of El Trafico between LAFC and the LA Galaxy

By just taking a slight glance at the Group F standings, you can get a grasp of just how open the play-off spots are. 

The Timbers lead the pack with three points, while the Dynamo and LAFC are tied for second with a point each after a 3-3 belter on Matchday 1, leaving the Galaxy last in the table.

Los Angeles FC vs Los Angeles Galaxy – 10 p.m. ET

Los Angeles soccer fans, whether they are Galaxy or LAFC supporters, can all agree that El Trafico on Saturday night will not feel the same.

The first six meetings between these two young rivals have produced movie-like scenes that have made this derby at the same level of importance as some of the older derbies in Major League Soccer.

We are talking about moments like when Zlatan Ibrahimović was brought on as a sub in the second half of the first-ever El Trafico with LAFC up 3-0. Zlatan went on to score two goals, which helped orchestrate one of the most stunning comebacks in recent MLS history. Oh, and by the way, it was his debut. Maybe you might remember this beauty.

It took two losses, and three draws for LAFC to finally paint the city of LA with Black-and-Gold in their last meeting on October 24, 2019. The 5-3 result ended the Carlos Vela and Zlatan Ibrahimovic saga in the Mexican on top scoring twice that time out.

Now, after COVID-19 and its effects on society, the game will ultimately be played under a different atmosphere. The heat will remain the same, but the mad scenes often seen at the stands in the Banc of Californian Stadium and Dignity Health Sports Park will be missed. In addition, Vela decided to miss the tournament to stay safe with his family and pregnant wife. 

However, Vela's absence did not deteriorate the LAFC in the attack. A formidable performance by his forward peers helped the Black and Gold secure a 3-3 draw to Dynamo after being down 3-1 before the half.

LA's three forwards consisting of New York Red Bulls newcomer, Bradley Wright-Phillips, Brian Rodriguez, and Diego Rossi, found the back of the net last Monday.

As for the Galaxy, their newest designated player, Chicharito, had a bad day at the office on Matchday 1 when facing Portland. 

The Mexican struggled to open up his Galaxy goal-count throughout the game. After missing a penalty and a couple of sitters, the ex-Madrid forward scored his first in Galaxy colors. Nonetheless, the goal came too late - 88th minute- leaving no time for an equalizer.

Some players and the fans might be missing, but the natural competitiveness amongst both sides will not let supporters down. This meeting should be a well-fought game given what is at stake – a better chance at reaching knockout rounds - and bragging rights.

Portland Timbers vs Houston Dynamo – 8 p.m. ET 

Despite not being a Derby, this game should be as exciting as El Trafico. Houston and Portland have a solid shot at the next round after good showings in week one.

Portland center back Dario Zuparic will miss the next match due to a send-off when facing the Galaxy. But other than that, the Timbers have quality on the field and bench. Giovanni Savarese will be expecting nothing other than a win on Saturday.

Meanwhile, the Dynamo are coming back from a match that saw them go ahead of LAFC 3-1 before halftime. Nevertheless, the Black and Gold came back to draw the game. 

Houston will rely on Alberth Ellis, Darwin Quintero, Mauro Manotas, and Memo Rodriguez to keep the attacking fluidity going into the match against Portland. Houston head coach Tab Ramos will emphasize on defense to avoid another comeback. 


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