Galaxy and LAFC to open 2023 MLS season at Rose Bowl

Returning to the old neighborhood, The Galaxy announce Tuesday they will open next season at the Rose Bowl, where they played their first MLS game in 1996.

But that’s not the biggest surprise, as the Galaxy’s opponent in this Feb. 25 game in Pasadena will be their inner-city rival LAFC. In just five seasons, the series between teams has become the most intense in US club football. And while the season opener takes place outside the friendly confines of Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, it means the Galaxy will give up some of their home field advantage for a night, but it also gives the team a chance to break the club’s single-game MLS A home attendance mark of 69,255, set in their first game at the Rose Bowl 26 years ago.

“We’ve been thinking about this for a while. And even consider working with LAFC,” said Galaxy President Chris Klein. “This game has such a special meaning for the city, our fans and football in this country.”

It was the expansion of the league to 29 teams with the addition of a franchise in St. Louis for 2023 that allowed the team to put those ideas into action. With MLS again playing an unbalanced schedule, the Galaxy will face LAFC three times next season. One game will be played at Banc of California Stadium while the other two will be Galaxy home games. A Galaxy representative, who declined to be named, said the team would not have considered a Rose Bowl game unless it also got a home date in Carson.

“It takes us back to our home and to our home base where we can drive what we believe is a spectacular event for football in Los Angeles,” Klein said of the Rose Bowl.

The Galaxy played 127 times there in all competitions during their first seven seasons, going 86-32-9 and winning an MLS Cup, a US Open Cup and a CONCACAF Champions Cup before joining Carson and settling at the nation’s second-biggest soccer stadium . particular stadium, then known as the Home Depot Center.

Galaxy season ticket holders will have the Rose Bowl game included in their packages, while the number of tickets made available to fans of the visiting team — in this case LAFC — will be limited, Klein said.

“Our group is working hard to figure out that split and is working on it with LAFC,” he added.

“The common goal is to fill the pitch,” added LAFC co-president Larry Freedman, who credited Klein with the idea for the Rose Bowl game.

The iconic stadium played host to two of the top 10 soccer crowds in the US this year, the 93,702 at the Real Madrid-Juventus friendly in July and the 62,729 at last Saturday’s Mexico-Peru game.

“We just thought so [rivalry] was magical. If you could bottle it and sell it, you would, wouldn’t you?” Freedman continued. “And so we felt like we should try. Because when it works, it’s magic above magic.”

LAFC and the Galaxy teams have met 16 times in all competitions, and the Galaxy (6-0-2) are undefeated in their eight home games at Carson. In the only game played at a neutral venue, LAFC, named the home team, beat the Galaxy 6-2 in Bay Lake, Florida during the 2020 MLS Is Back tournament.

In 2024, when teams are expected to play three regular-season games again, LAFC will get the additional home date. Freedman said a location for this game has not yet been chosen, but the Coliseum and SoFi Stadium are among the candidates.

The remainder of the 2023 schedule for Galaxy and LAFC will be announced later this year.

https://www.latimes.com/sports/soccer/story/2022-09-27/galaxy-lafc-open-2023-mls-season-rose-bowl Galaxy and LAFC to open 2023 MLS season at Rose Bowl

Emma Bowman

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