Sparks will fly as Chivas USA battle Houston in preseason finale

There is a history of hostility between the Goats and Dynamo

If history is any indication, Chivas USA and the Houston Dynamo quite simply don’t like each other.

The Goats will host the Houston Dynamo on Saturday in Santa Barbara (7 p.m. PT) in their final preseason match.

Chivas USA also closed out the 2009 preseason against Houston in a tense affair that nearly boiled over into a bench-clearing brawl. A hard tackle from Houston’s Ricardo Clark in the game’s closing moments proved the catalyst.

“Chivas has typically been a team that plays hard and so is Houston,” Sacha Kljestan told MLSsoccer.com. “I think that sometimes makes for some battles on the field and maybe a couple of hard fouls here and there. We also had good matchup with them in the postseason a couple of years back and I think that sort of started the whole rivalry.”

Houston knocked Chivas USA out of the 2006 playoffs (the Goats’ first-ever appearance in the MLS postseason) after a 3-2 aggregate goal victory.

“We played them in the first round of the playoffs and the game ended pretty heated here in LA,” said Chivas USA defender Jonathan Bornstein. “When we went to Houston, they ended up scoring late in the game and a fight broke out afterwards. I think tension has been high between the two teams ever since.”

Adding to the rivalry is the fact that both sides have been serious Western Conference contenders over the course of recent years. Each has qualified for the MLS Cup Playoffs in every year since 2006.

The Goats are desperate to wrap up the preseason with their first win against an MLS opponent. The regular season kicks off on Friday against Colorado at the Home Depot Center.

“It will be a good test on Saturday,” said Bornstein. “It’s always competitive when we play Houston and I don’t think it will be any different this weekend.”