LA Galaxy captain Ashley Cole says LAFC's new fans "think they're the best team in L.A.," adding a bit of spark to the new MLS rivalry ahead of the first derby on Saturday.
LAFC has won its first two games in their inaugural MLS season on the road while waiting for the final touches to be put on its new Banc of California Stadium.
Saturday's game will be the first time fans can watch the expansion club in Southern California, though the Galaxy will still be the home team at the StubHub Center.
A potential Galaxy debut for Zlatan Ibrahimovic could add to drama, and Cole reminded fans that the derby will be a chance for his side to remind the city which team has won five MLS Cups.
"They've got a new fan base who kind of think they're the best team in L.A.," Cole said. "Now we have to prove our characteristics and out history. ... Regardless if they're a new team, they're in our city. We don't want to let the fans down."
Cole, who played in his share of derbies in London with both Arsenal and Chelsea, said it might take a little time for the clubs to build up a true rivalry.
"It will probably take a few years and a few games," Cole said. "Of course, they're the closest team to us, but you've got to play them a few times and probably have a few fights to get the rivalry big."
LAFC midfielder Benny Feilhaber, however, believes all the pressure to win will be on the Galaxy, who finished bottom of the Western Conference last season.
"We both have a little bit different goals," Feilhaber said. "They are the flag-bearers of the league, they've won five times, right? They have quite a history, but they came off a bad season last season.
"They've changed a lot of their team around this year, so they've got, I think, a lot more to prove then we do. We're a brand-new team."
Galaxy president Chris Klein told MLSsoccer.com that the strength of the rivalry will depend on the fans.
"That's not something we can manufacture, that we can do for them," he said. "We follow their lead with that. It's like that in any other sport and any other rivalry. We understand the proximity of the two clubs and being in the same market naturally creates some of that itself, but our fans will tell us when and if this is a rivalry and how big it's going to be."