LAFC boss Steve Cherundolo says his side are aware of the importance of their clash with local rivals LA Galaxy, as he hinted Italy legend Giorgio Chiellini could feature in the derby.

Cherundolo’s team lead Austin by two points at the top of the Western Conference and have been boosted by the arrivals of European icons Gareth Bale and Chiellini.

While Bale is not yet available, Chiellini could feature against the Galaxy as LAFC look to avenge the two defeats they have already suffered to their rivals this year – one in the MLS and one in the U.S. Open Cup.

“(It’s been) a normal week of training, with the exception of we have an exciting and important game for us, a team we’ve seen twice this year,” Cherundolo said.

“Both teams do a great job of getting themselves ready for this match to make it exciting for the fans and the media, but it’s something we understand the importance of and we’re ready.”

Asked whether Chiellini could be available, the LAFC boss said: “Yes, he’s training with the team, we’ll just have to wait and see (if he starts).”

The Galaxy are fourth in the standings after routing Montreal 4-0 last time out, with Javier Hernandez opening the scoring early on.

While the former Manchester United striker was happy to look back on that strike, he emphasized the importance of LA finding consistency if they are to challenge.

“If those goals can help to transform victories or points, it’s always unbelievable. But we need to stay calm, the greatest franchises and greatest teams face every game and every obstacle with the same serenity,” he said.

“They don’t think they are the best and have done everything, or when they lose, feel they are the worst and panic.

“We need consistency. Whoever finds consistency is going to be close to winning the championship.”

PLAYERS TO WATCH

LAFC – Cristian Arango

The Colombian forward has scored six league goals for LAFC this season – matching Carlos Vela as their top goalscorer. With revenge on the hosts’ minds after two previous losses to the Galaxy in 2022, Arango will be looking to improve on that tally.

LA Galaxy – Dejan Joveljic

Joveljic has scored five goals in his last four outings for the Galaxy, last failing to score in mid-May when the side went down 3-0 at home to the Houston Dynamo, and could continue his hot streak here.

KEY OPTA FACTS

– The Galaxy have six wins over LAFC in MLS play, the most wins by any team over LAFC in leaguecompetition (incl. playoffs). LAFC’s 21.4 percent MLS win rate against the Galaxy is their lowest against any team they have faced more than three times.

– Los Angeles FC suffered just their fourth loss of the season on Saturday, losing 1-0 at Vancouver to an 89th minute goal by Andres Cubas. It was the first time all season LAFC have been outscored in the second half of a match and just the second time they failed to score.

– The Galaxy’s 4-0 win over CF Montreal on Monday continued their up-and-down season. The Galaxy have not posted the same result in consecutive matches in their last 12 games (W5 D3 L5), with their last winning streak coming in early April against Portland and LAFC.

– Los Angeles FC has scored in 35 straight home MLS matches, equaling the third-longest streak in MLShistory. LAFC have scored at least twice in seven of their last eight home league games.

– Dejan Joveljic has found the net in four consecutive MLS games for the Galaxy, scoring five goals in that time. He could equal the club record for consecutive regular season games with a goal, a mark set by Carlos Ruiz in 2002-03 and matched by Landon Donovan (2011), Robbie Keane (2015-16) and Zlatan Ibrahimovic (4x in 2018 and 2019).