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SBI MLS Game of the Week: Los Angeles Galaxy vs. Chivas USA


Photo by Michael Janosz/

The MLS version of the "SuperClasico" has never quite lived up to the billing, or ever really been a rivalry worthy of an elaborate nickname. That may change this season though, with Chivas USA looking like a team ready to be a true rival to its neighbors, the Los Angeles Galaxy.

With both teams looking strong, this year's first installment of the 'SuperClasico' is SBI's MLS Game of the Week. With plenty of quality match-ups all over the field, the Home Depot Battle should be an entertaining and intense one.

Here is a closer look at tonight's match (10pm, ESPN2), with previews from both the Galaxy camp, and from Chivas USA: 



CARSON, Calif. — The SuperClasico is here and the Los Angeles Galaxy is not overlooking its cross-hall rivals despite historical success.

Los Angeles has dominated the rivalry as of late with the last Chivas USA victory coming in September of 2007, nearly four years and two Chivas USA coaches ago. However, it is a new age for the Rojiblancos under new head coach Robin Fraser and a team that is coming off an impressive 3-2 road victory over the New York Red Bulls. For Galaxy captain Landon Donovan, it is a team deserving of high praise. 

"In my opinion, this is the hottest team in the league right now," Donovan said. "They're very confident and playing well as a team, and I'm sure that on Saturday night, in front of a larger-than-normal crowd for them, they're going to be up for it and excited."

Donovan has enjoyed a successful run of form lately, having scored seven goals in his last five matches, and is preparing to face a team that he has dominated.

Throughout his career in both league play and playoff matches, Donovan has accumulated nine goals and eight assists in 17 games against Chivas USA. With prior success in mind, it will likely be up to Donovan to test the defensive partnership of Andrew Boyens and Heath Pearce, which leads a formidable back line for the Rojiblancos. 

While Donovan is enjoying a great deal of success, the match represents another opportunity for maligned forward Juan Pablo Angel to get into full stride with the Galaxy. Angel scored his second goal in a Galaxy uniform in the team's commanding victory over Sporting Kansas City last weekend and stated after the match that he hoped it was the start of greater success with the Galaxy.

For Angel, a veteran of several of the world's greatest rivalries, the forward is excited to get the full experience.

"I’ve seen the majority of the biggest derbies in the world, but there’s nothing like Boca-River. The pressure, the atmosphere, what it means to the city … it's hard to explain," said Angel of the famed Argentine rivalry. "It's always special to play in the Clasicos and this should be a great game with hopefully a good atmosphere."

In what promises to be a be an intense match in front of an expected sellout crowd of 27,000, Donovan admits that even for a veteran like himself, the annual meetings with Chivas remain an immensely enjoyable experience. 

"They're more fun for us," he said. "They feel a little more involved, a little more meaningful. At the end of the day it's one game and three points, but the way they're playing right now especially adds some emphasis to this game at this moment."




CARSON, Calif. – Chivas USA is coming off an epic win over the New York Red Bulls, but there was no time to celebrate as the Goats went right to work in preparation for Saturday night at the Home Depot Center against their biggest rivals, the Los Angeles Galaxy.

Thursday's training was closed to the media as the Rojiblancos strategized on covert grounds on how to trump the Galaxy.

The match is being hyped as the defining moment in the Goats 2011 campaign. But according to the staff and player, don't believe the hype, it's just another game.

"We're playing against a very good team, and we need to be well prepared," said Chivas coach Robin Fraser. "We're doing everything that we normally do to prepare for a good game.

"It’s just another game that we have to win. It's not any different really; it's another very good team."

Fraser further added that the only thing differentiating El Superclasico from any other fixture in the league was that both teams are playing in their home stadium. Nothing more.

Saturday night will mark the closing chapter of their three game herculean test. Chivas USA fell to Real Salt Lake 1-0 at Rio Tinto despite being short-handed two men for the majority of the match. And last week, the Red-and-White trumped the Red Bulls in New York 3-2 on a Justin Braun hat-trick. Two top teams, two impressive results.

However, this time they’ll have to face the league’s goal leader in Landon Donovan. With seven goals thus far he is the home team’s biggest threat.

Chivas defender and Donovan’s teammate in the US National Team, Heath Pearce, knows the key to stumping the midfielder.

“Just to disrupt him,” said Pearce. “He likes to get balls over the top, he likes to get balls through, and he’s just a dangerous player all over the field. So it’s just about managing and containing the field and making it a difficult day for him.”

Unfortunately for the Goats, when one Galactico trumps, another flourishes. David Beckham is another player they have to keep an eye on or else he’ll do damage. Pearce agrees the best way to stop Becks is to force him left and make him take balls from said foot.

Lately, the Galaxy back line has been making critical mistakes that have led to opportunities and even goals. One key to scoring against LA is to force pressure, and be persistent until opportunity knocks. However, Chivas USA’s goals and assists leader, Alejandro Moreno, believes the key is being dynamic.

“We have to concern ourselves with being dynamic in the final third of the field, “said the forward. “We have to be able to interchange and make sure when we do the place-interchange we get number in the box and we attack with numbers. When we do that we’re a dangerous team to defend, we’re an active team. When we’re dynamic and active it always makes it easier on us and difficult for other teams.”


  1. “The MLS version of the “SuperClasico” has never quite lived up to the billing, or ever really been a rivalry worthy of an elaborate nickname.”

    Then quit calling it what it is not.


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