Chivas USA host neighbors LA Galaxy this Saturday in what is unquestionably one of the biggest games in MLS…the Super Clasico. In the first of three meetings between the two sides in 2012, both Chivas USA and LA Galaxy come into this game on the back of a very interesting week indeed. While rivals Galaxy were doing their global image no harm by spending a day with The President at the White House, Chivas USA were busy with more serious business as they reshuffled their squad with some headline making trades. The build-up to any derby is always intense and with the supporters also playing their version of the game in the Barra Clasico (supporters’ group Super Clasico) on Thursday night the atmosphere of the game will no doubt be explosive. With both teams struggling so far in the 2012 season, all the signs point towards this Super Clasico being a definite classic.
Despite high hopes for both of Los Angeles’ teams this season, Chivas USA and LA Galaxy have had a disappointing start to the 2012 season. Of course, no one expected LA Galaxy to be in the position they are in after MLS Cup glory last year, but some poor performances find them just one point above Chivas USA in seventh place. The Goats, have also suffered from some inconsistent displays, and some poor home form has found them struggling at the wrong end of the Western Conference. When they have wanted to though, both teams have secured some inspiring results. However, both The Goats and The Galaxy enter into this match following on from what can only be described as disappointing results.
Chivas USA again fell to another late goal last weekend and achieved a defeat-like 1-1 tie at San Jose whereas LA Galaxy bounced back to rescue a point in a 1-1 tie against the Montreal Impact. Although disappointing, the Goats tie with San Jose did snap a three game losing streak and instill a bit of confidence before returning to the Home Depot Center. Despite being a shared stadium, this is a home game for Chivas USA and that is what will worry the fans. From five home games this season Chivas have lost all five and only scored one goal in the process. Their away form has been their savior this year and there is perhaps no better time or team to banish your home demons against than the LA Galaxy.
Since the inception of the Super Clasico, LA Galaxy has dominated the series and hold a significant advantage over Chivas USA in their Clasico record. Winning six out of their last seven games against Chivas USA their overall record against the Rojiblancos stands at 16-6-3. Chivas USA haven’t won a match against LA Galaxy since 2007 and last season saw Galaxy triumph twice, winning 1-0 both home and away. Without going into too much detail, Chivas USA do not hold many fond memories from the Super Clasico and will have a hard time in making that up to their fans.
THE INJURY LIST
Once again, Robin Fraser finds himself with a healthy line-up to choose from this weekend with Marvin Iraheta (knee) being the only long term absentee. Ben Zemanski has been listed as questionable with a strain but other than that Fraser has a strong squad of players going into the Galaxy game.
Despite only arriving in California yesterday, Juan Agudelo and Danny Califf trained with their new teammates this morning and will both be available to make their debuts on Saturday. This of course means there will inevitably be changes in the side as Heath Pearce and Michael Lahoud have departed and Pearce in particular was a first pick. With center-back Pearce gone, this will see either McKenzie restored to the line-up alongside Valencia, or the debut of Califf. As Lahoud was still waiting to make his full return from injury the midfield will be less affected by his departure. Juan Pablo Angel was dropped for last week’s game against San Jose and will be pushing for a starting berth alongside fellow Colombian Jose Correa or new boy Agudelo. Although Chivas have lost two key players they have undeniably ended the week as a stronger side. Robin Fraser has now built himself a young, but promising raft of forwards to spearhead an attack already supported by a strong midfield. The more adventurous side of Chivas’ play has been on show at the HDC recently, and with spirits high in the camp after some new arrivals, a more attacking line-up will hopefully be used.
Oswaldo Minda who was sidelined through suspension against San Jose is back and available for selection also.
This will be Chivas USA’s sixth home game of the season and without any points to speak of at the HDC any sort of positive result against arch-rivals LA Galaxy will be demanded by the fans. Despite having a poor record at home, Saturday’s game will arguably be one of the best chances the Rojiblancos will have had in a while to start making amends over their inferior Super Clasico record. This is a significantly different Chivas USA side over previous years and LA Galaxy won’t find it as easy as they have done in the past. Add to this, the confidence bursting from the team/fans from two inspired signings mid-week and Bruce Arena will perhaps be taking this game a bit more seriously now. Of course, Chivas USA are the underdogs but this can only work in their favor. After a passionate showing in the Barra Clasico from the fans, if Chivas USA can match the passion in the stands, the home record might finally be put to rest in a memorable style.
(image courtesy of Getty Images)