El Tráfico. La Clásico. The L.A. Derby. Clásico Angelino. The 110 Derby. Or some variation thereof.
Call the passionate five-year-old rivalry between the L.A. Galaxy and the Los Angeles Football Club what you will.
For a variety of reasons, people on all sides already do.
Waiting to enter Dignity Health Sports Park before the first of two regular season Major League Soccer meetings pitting the Galaxy and LAFC in 2022, Brandon Cervantes was under the impression that “nobody is happy” with the widely adopted “El Tráfico” moniker.
“I don’t know why,” said the teenager, who cheered on the Galaxy since he was 4. “I’m fine. It sounds like a good name. Instead of El Clásico, it’s El Tráfico.”
The play on words, a nod to massive Spanish rivals Barcelona FC and Real Madrid, is “culturally appropriate being in L.A.,” expressed Matthew Vega, an LAFC supporter beginning with the 2021 season after he moved to South Los Angeles. “I think it fits pretty well for LAFC and L.A. Galaxy.”
Esteban Preciado, a twenty-something LAFC fan since 2018, couldn’t wait to join the crowd, a sell-out of 25,174, for his first in-person match, and while he called the contest the “L.A. Clásico” he doesn’t mind “El Tráfico.”
“It’s good because there’s a lot of traffic here,” he said. “It fits.”
To the delight of Galaxy fans, following a thrilling 2-1 victory on Saturday, the derby contests in their home park have resulted in one-way traffic to the tune of five wins and two draws.
Scott McClure and Mark Leonard attended their first Galaxy match on July 4, 2013, and the married couple have watched every contest between the archrivals in Carson.
“In my opinion it’s the best rivalry in MLS and one of the best sports rivalries in the country,” McClure said. “When you say ‘El Tráfico’ everyone knows what you’re talking about.”
Amongst residents of the city, surrounding areas and MLS fans across the country this is true, yet the distaste for the label, which fans on both sides selected during online polls prior to their first meeting, lingers.
“I don’t think it’s the best name but I can see why it kind of stuck,” said Greg Borgogna, 48, who has pulled for the Galaxy since their inaugural season of 1996. “It’s just a derby. It’s our crosstown rival no matter what you want to call it.”
To that end, Marvin Giovanni, a season ticket member and Galaxy fan starting at the Rose Bowl in ‘96, agrees with Borgogna.
‘El Tráfico’ is stupid, man,” Giovanni said. “I know they’re trying to go with L.A. having the worst traffic in the world, but first of all it’s in Spanish. I love Spanish. It’s my first language but it doesn’t connect with me to be honest with you.
“I call it the L.A. Derby. Anywhere in the world you go they call it a derby. So it’s only fitting we call it the L.A. Derby.”
Executives with LAFC as well as the club’s first head coach Bob Bradley bristled at the title, and their objections filtered down to the deepest roots of The 3252 supporter group, whose insiders prefer Clásico Angelino.
On Saturday, the one title everyone wants to be associated with — winner — belonged to the Galaxy.