Gareth Bale was seen celebrating with his new LAFC team-mates after they beat LA Galaxy 3-2 on Friday night in another exciting edition of the clubs’ El Trafico crosstown rivalry.
Bale – who had only arrived in Los Angeles on Friday morning – was presented to the LAFC fans ahead of the game and received a standing ovation from the sold-out Banc of California stadium.
Bale wasn’t quite ready to play in the LA derby, but he got an up-close look at the passion and potential of his new club – having been filmed cheering from the stands and celebrating on the pitch afterwards.
LAFC went ahead in the 17th minute when Cifuentes got left alone in the box to head home Acosta’s corner.
The Galaxy evened it in the 55th minute on a long, low shot through traffic by Grandsir, the French forward who hadn’t found the net in his first 17 matches this season.
But Cifuentes put LAFC back ahead in the 70th minute with another header off an excellent cross from former MLS MVP Carlos Vela, who then fed Arango for his breakaway goal two minutes later.
Rayan Raveloson kept it close with a header in the 81st minute, but Los Angeles FC were able to hang on to secure a 3-2 victory.
Bale celebrated each of his new team’s goals from a luxury box at Banc of California Stadium, and the Welsh forward went back to the field afterward and grabbed a megaphone to lead a postgame chant with their fans while his new team-mates doused him with water.
Giorgio Chiellini was also present for LAFC’s victory after signing for the club but did not feature for the team during the game.
‘You saw how quickly a player gets integrated into our circle,’ LAFC coach Steve Cherundolo said. ‘We will get Gareth in [kit] ASAP.
‘He was ready tonight, but I think it would have been asking a little much to have him come off the plane and right into the game.’
While LAFC midfielder Kellyn Acosta added: ‘We’re all excited to have him join our squad. We think he’s a key addition.
‘It was huge for him to be a part of our celebration, to see the atmosphere here at the Banc with the 3252 [supporters’ association].’
Bale, who became a free agent after leaving Real Madrid at the end of last season, signed for LAFC in a bid to gain more regular game time ahead of the World Cup.
Bale was eager to sign for the American outfit as the MLS season runs until November, a fortnight before Wales’ first World Cup finals campaign since 1958, begins in Qatar.
His current deal in LA takes him up to June 2023 when next year’s MLS season will be only halfway through. However, Bale has an option to continue for 18 months beyond that should his family settle and he is enjoying his football.