Galaxy welcomes LAFC for a special El Trafico – LA Daily News

It is a busy weekend around Dignity Health Sports Park.

The Galaxy will be unveiling a statue of Landon Donovan before Sunday’s El Trafico meeting with the Los Angeles Football Club.

At halftime, Donovan will be inducted into the club’s Ring of Honor.

“He was an incredible player and his desire to want to score goals, to threaten the space behind, the cleverness and the timing of his runs were all things in our league that were pretty exceptional in his time,” Galaxy coach Greg Vanney said. “He was always so difficult to play against.”

Vanney was a teammate of Donovan during the 2008 season with the Galaxy.

Not to be lost in the excitement of Donovan’s weekend, Vanney and the Galaxy (11-11-5, 38 points) are fighting for playoff positioning.

LAFC has lost three consecutive games, while the Galaxy is stuck in an eight-game winless streak (0-5-3).

The Galaxy has fallen to sixth place in the Western Conference. The top seven teams will advance to the MLS Cup Playoffs.

“You need to just turn the page, take the positives, learn from the mistakes you did,” Galaxy forward Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez said. “Be grateful, enjoy your life and try to do the best you can. And I think that’s the mindset and the mentality that we have.

“The past we cannot change it, it is what it is and we need to maintain the things that we’re doing pretty well and then learn from the mistakes that we have done in the past. Just keep going and we have a beautiful game on Sunday and a great weekend, so hopefully we can get three points here in our home in that derby.”

In his two seasons with the Galaxy, Hernandez has played in just one El Trafico. He scored the opening goal in the 2-1 Galaxy win May 8.

Despite the Galaxy’s recent struggles, Vanney said he hopes Wednesday’s 2-1 loss at Real Salt Lake could be a turning point.

“For me, I wouldn’t be surprised if this was a big lesson, a turning point for this group, because I feel a different energy in the locker room right now than I’ve ever felt this entire season,” Vanney said following the loss. “I hope it is because this group laid out an incredible effort today.

“The one thing that we are learning as a group is still how to win that big game and how to put together all the pieces, including the goals, and not giving up the goals to win that big game. I think all of the parts were there, except for we’ve got to finish a couple more chances.”

This is the third meeting between the rivals this season. The last one, Aug. 28, ended in a wild 3-3 draw.

“We’re trying to stay focused on the fact that we’re trying to find the best form and our best version of us here down the stretch and I thought we were a lot closer,” Vanney said. “(Against RSL) I thought it was the most complete 90-minute game that we’ve played this year without the result on the end of it being what we wanted it to be.

“We have to take the positives and the things that we did well and try to duplicate those and finish our chances when we get them and see halves out when they’re getting close to the end of halves. Things like that.”

LAFC (9-12-6, 33) at GALAXY (11-11-5, 38 pts)

When: 5 p.m. Sunday

Where: Dignity Health Sports Park