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Galaxy and LAFC go for MLS attendance record with 2023 El Tráfico at the Rose Bowl

Back in March, Charlotte FC set the MLS attendance record when 74,479 showed up at Bank of America Stadium for the club's inaugural home match against LA Galaxy. Now the visitors are looking to bring the record back home with a 2023 El Tráfico of LA Galaxy vs LAFC at the Rose Bowl (capacity: 88,565).

Oh, and it's the season opener.

Since St. Louis City SC joins MLS next year, bringing the league to 29 teams, we'll again return to an unbalanced schedule with the Galaxy and LAFC slated to go at it three times.

One of those will be played at LAFC's Banc of California Stadium while the other two are home matches for the Galaxy. Since the Galaxy will be assured of one match in Carson at Dignity Health Sports Park, the club's front office became open to scheduling a match at a "neutral ground" like the Rose Bowl.

The Rose Bowl has been something of a home away from home for the Galaxy over their 28-year existence. The Galaxy played there from 1996 to 2002 — setting a club attendance record of 69,255 in '96 — and they've played some famous recent friendlies at the ground, including a 2015 International Champions Cup match against Barcelona that drew 93,226.

"We've been thinking about this for a while," Galaxy president Chris Klein said. "And even thinking about it in conjunction with LAFC. This game has taken on such a special meaning to the city, to our fans and to, really, soccer in this country. It's taking us back to our home and where we first started and driving what, we think, can be a spectacular event for soccer in Los Angeles." 

2023 should see a massive crowd because (1) El Tráfico, over the course of five short years, has become the best rivalry in MLS and (2) both these teams are generating plenty of excitement right now.

#1. El Tráfico is the best rivalry in MLS

When people talk about Major League Soccer's shoddy TV ratings outside local markets, they make a good point. The parity makes following your own side a wildly joyful adventure, but watching as a neutral is usually like someone telling you about their dreams: who cares?

That's not the case with El Tráfico. The Galaxy have long served as the league's one global club as five-time winners of the Cup, but LAFC is hellbent on claiming a first with a similar star-studded approach.

This is the rivalry that produced 4-3 with Zlatan Ibrahimovic scoring an unforgettable brace, LAFC winning 5-3 in the 2019 playoffs with Carlos Vela in control and, across 16 matches in all competitions, an average of 4.4 goals per game. 

#2. Both sides are on the rise

After both clubs missed the playoffs in 2021, LAFC is the 2022 Western Conference champion, aiming for the Supporters' Shield and a favorite for MLS Cup with Vela, Giorgio Chiellini, Gareth Bale, Cristian Tello and Cristian Arango. 

The Galaxy are also looking like a lock to return to the playoffs behind Chicharito's 17 goals and the additions Riqui Puig, Gastón Brugman and Martín Cáceres. 

It's an arms race in Los Angeles.

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