SuperClasico to bring out best of Chivas USA

Goats say the match vs. the Galaxy has given them a boost

There’s something special about the SuperClásico. It could
be the extra-packed Home Depot Center or the fact that both Chivas USA and the
LA Galaxy call Los Angeles home.

There’s always electricity in the air.

“Emotions are always at one hundred percent in these SuperClásicos,”
said Chivas USA defender Mariano Trujillo after practice on Wednesday. “We
don’t want to lose Thursday night. We don’t like to lose any game, but
especially not against the Galaxy. We want to get our first three points and
get a victory for the Chivas USA fans.”

Chivas USA
has plenty of reasons to come out firing against their in-stadium rivals on
Thursday evening. The Red-and-White went a dismal 0-2-1 against LA last year,
and were ousted from the postseason by a 3-2 aggregate score against the
Galaxy.

“Even with the new players this year, we all know the
rivalry and we know the bad blood,” said Michael Lahoud. “Regardless of when
you play Galaxy, there’s always going to be lots of tension and emotion. And
the playoff storyline from last year makes for an even greater game.”

The Galaxy have enjoyed success against Chivas USA in the
past, boasting a 10-3-2 record against the Red-and-White since 2005. But with a
younger roster and a new coach, the Goats are feeling strong ahead of
Thursday’s match.

“We’re feeling very confident,” said Lahoud. “It’s always
different to feel that way after the last result we had, which was a
disappointing one, but there’s just something about our team and the enthusiasm
that we’ve all felt for the past couple of days.”

Key to Chivas USA’s success against LA will be
containing Landon Donovan. The American international has just returned from a
successful stint with English side Everton, and is bristling with confidence.

“They have some dangerous players,” said Trujillo. Guys like Donovan are players that
can hurt you if you aren’t paying attention. But if we can possess the ball and
maintain good offense, we won’t have to worry about defending them so much.”

Veteran Brazilian stalwart Marcelo Saragosa will likely be
assigned to containing Donovan. It’s no easy task, but Saragosa knows the job
well and should have no problem hassling the 2009 MLS MVP. His experience
playing with the Galaxy during from 2004-2006 doesn’t hurt either.

“Donovan is a great player,” said Saragosa. “We have to
close him down and not give him too much space. But he’s not the only one we
have to worry about. They have a strong team with other players that can hurt
you.”

As one of only two Western Conference teams not to secure
any points on MLS opening weekend, Chivas USA will have extra reason to fight
for a victory on Thursday.

“We’re thinking about winning,” said Trujillo. “We have to stay focused and play
within our system. If we can do that, then there’s no doubt that we’ll get a
win tomorrow.”