While the enigmatic presence of Zlatan Ibrahimovic soon dominated the Los Angeles derby, it was Los Angeles FC star Carlos Vela who took the starring role in the early going.
The Galaxy’s big signing made the 18 for the contest, but began the match on the bench as Ola Kamara got the start. Although he soon came on to turn the tie on its head with two decisive goals - including one from his first shot in MLS - there was no shortage of fireworks before his arrival as Vela stepped up to provide some magic.
Only five minutes into the contest LAFC forced a turnover that created a chance for the attacker. The Mexico international, at the edge of the area, unleashed a perfectly hit curling shot into the top corner, leaving Galaxy goalkeeper David Bingham helpless.
But Vela was not done. In the 26th minute, the former Arsenal player was able to get in on goal against Bingham after a well-worked counterattack by the visiting side. Vela, with his angle cut, calmly pulled the ball back away from the onrushing Bingham.
Then, after making Perry Kitchen miss, he placed a shot over multiple Galaxy defenders, off the underside of crossbar and over the line to double the expansion side’s advantage.
The goals were Vela’s second and third of the season as he looks to continue his team’s perfect start to MLS life, having won both of its opening contests.
An own goal early in the second half extended LAFC's lead to 3-0, but Sebastian Lletget pulled one back for the home side on the hour mark.
Chris Pontius cut the deficit to one goal 12 minutes later before Ibrahimovic's stunning first strike looked to have sealed a point. The Swede then stunned the watching crowd even further when he added the injury time winner.