LA Galaxy vs. Chivas USA at Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.
Galaxy lead all-time regular-season series 10-3-5.
11 p.m. ET, ESPN2, ESPN Deportes
What's at stake?
Bragging rights in the so-called SuperClásico. Actually, the Galaxy
have bragging rights for many reasons—10 regular-season wins, the
playoff win from ’09, the U.S. Open Cup in ’05—but Chivas could make a
tiny dent in that and at least go the next six months having had the
last laugh. The clubs won’t meet again until October.
After a sloppy, uncharacteristic—yet highly-entertaining—2-2 draw in
the first leg of the Western Conference semifinals, the Galaxy and
Chivas squared off in a defensive battle. The Galaxy won it late in the
match after Mike Magee was knocked down inside the penalty area by
Yamith Cuesta. Landon Donovan converted the penalty kick and the Galaxy
ousted Chivas from the MLS Cup playoffs.
Yes, there have been Chivas sightings in this series. Chivas beat the
Galaxy by 3-0 scores in successive games in 2007. The first, on Aug.
22, 2007, caused a massive reaction from then-Galaxy coach Frank
Yallop. David Beckham played in England the day before the game and was
on the pitch for all 90 minutes of Chivas’ 3-0 rout, and Yallop had a
post-game meltdown, claiming the team was “[expletive] knackered.”
Chivas won the next meeting a few weeks later by the same score but
have not been heard from since.
Heroes & villains
Sacha Kljestan vs. Dema Kovalenko—Chivas
USA's new captain didn't have the greatest performance in his first
match as skipper. Kljestan played more of a central role than he has in
the past but was hardly an influence as Chivas' attack sputtered.
Kovalenko will be around Kljestan more than in previous games if
Kljestan stays in the middle. Kljestan needs to figure out a way to
keep the Galaxy's bullish defensive midfielder off him if he has a shot
of creating offense.
Omar Gonzalez vs. Maykel Galindo—What
will win out: size or speed? The Galaxy's strong central defender will
be relied upon to neutralize Galindo and the speedy Cuban's runs inside
the box. If Gonzalez gives away too much room, Galindo will be able to
exploit that and could get himself some looks at goal. But if Galindo
is constantly finding himself bumped and pushed off the ball by
Gonzalez, Chivas' offense will have to come from another source.
Stat that makes you go “Hmm …”
Until 2009, the Galaxy had destroyed Chivas in the first meeting of
each year. The Galaxy won games by scores of 3-0 (in 2005), 2-1 (2006),
3-1 (2007) and 5-2 (2008). The 2006 result was particularly
gut-wrenching as Cornell Glen scored two late goals to help the Galaxy
win. Last season's first SuperClásico was a 0-0 draw.
He said it
“It’s obviously different. They’ve got a different coach, a lot of
different players and it’s a short week for us. We’re still coming off
the New England game, and once our focus gets to Chivas, no matter who
they have and who their coach is, it always ends up being a physical,
tight game,” -- Galaxy midfielder Chris Klein on how the Clásico has
changed from the previous meeting, in November.