Galaxy to return to Rose Bowl to kick off 2023 season against LAFC

The Galaxy is returning home for next season’s Major League Soccer opener and El Trafico is coming along.

The Galaxy announced Tuesday that its 2023 season opener will be played Feb. 25 at the Rose Bowl against the rival Los Angeles Football Club.

The Galaxy called the iconic stadium home from 1996 to 2002 before moving to Carson and what is now called Dignity Health Sports Park for the 2003 season.

The Galaxy made its debut at the Rose Bowl on April 13, 1996, with a 2-1 win over the New York/New Jersey MetroStars in front of 69,225. The Galaxy’s final game in Pasadena was a 4-0 win over the Colorado Rapids in the Western Conference Finals in 2002.

Since leaving the Rose Bowl, the Galaxy has returned to play select marquee games. In 2014, the Galaxy faced Manchester United in front of a crowd of 84,362. The following year, it played FC Barcelona in front of 93,226.

“This rivalry has, from day one, delivered an energy and electricity that together with incredible moments and memories on the pitch, has established it among the most engaging not only in Los Angeles but across MLS,” LAFC co-President and CBO Larry Freedman said in a statement. “It is only fitting that we are now taking it to one of the most iconic venues in all of sports.”

Earlier this year, the Rose Bowl had a crowd of 93,702 for a Real Madrid-Juventus friendly. On Saturday, 62,729 attended a Mexico friendly against Peru. The Rose Bowl has been the prime location for some of soccer’s biggest moments: the 1984 Olympic Gold Medal Game, the 1994 men’s FIFA World Cup, the 1999 women’s World Cup Final and the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup final between Mexico and U.S. men’s national teams.

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The El Trafico series has taken MLS by storm since its debut in 2018. The teams have played 16 times across all competitions – regular season, U.S. Open Cup, MLS playoffs and even the MLS is Back Tournament – with the Galaxy leading the series 7-4-5.

With the arrival of St. Louis City SC as the league’s 29th franchise, Major League Soccer will play an unbalanced schedule next season, giving the Galaxy and LAFC a third MLS meeting next season. The teams met three times this season. They split their regular-season meetings and the Galaxy won their U.S. Open Cup contest.

The Galaxy says the only way for fans can get tickets is through a Season Ticket Membership or Partial Plan. Fans can visit LAGalaxy.com/Tickets for more information. Also, “further ticketing information for LAFC Season Ticket Members and fans will be sent directly by LAFC.”

The remainder of the 2023 MLS schedule will be announced at a later date.