Preview: 2010 Honda Super Clásico - Chivas USA vs. LA Galaxy
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Chivas USA vs. Los Angeles Galaxy
Sunday, October 3rd at 5:00pm PT
The Home Depot Center, Carson, Calif.
In English on ESPN2
In Spanish on ESPN Deportes
Chivas USA and the LA Galaxy fight for control of Los Angeles on Sunday afternoon in the second of their two-game 2010 SuperClásico series. LA currently holds the edge thanks to a 2-0 victory back on April 2nd, but the Red-and-White will enjoy the support of a noisy home crowd as they try to even the score and take home the silverware. With Chivas USA all but eliminated from the 2010 playoffs, Sunday’s game provides the Goats with the opportunity to salvage some pride and take down their hated rivals.
The Red-and-White have had a tough season. With 25 points from 25 games, the team holds on to hopes of a fifth consecutive postseason appearance by a thread. Much of the trouble in 2010 has come from the Goats’ inability to find the back of the net; Chivas USA has scored just 25 goals so far this season, good for second-worst in all of MLS. Head Coach Martín Vásquez will likely use the team’s remaining five games to tweak his attack in hopes of finding a combination that works for next year.
Of primary concern for the Red-and-White on Sunday will be containing LA’s potent offense. The Galaxy have scored the second-most goals in the league this year and have proven themselves to be dangerous in front of net. Chivas USA center-backs Michael Umaña and Yamith Cuesta (usual starter Darío Delgado is listed as questionable after sustaining a contusion on his right foot against Philadelphia last weekend) will have their hands full dealing with Beckham, Donovan, and Buddle. Look for the Goats to come out firing on Sunday to try and avoid allowing LA to get into any offensive rhythm.
The Los Angeles Galaxy
The Galaxy have had an impressive campaign this season and will only be stronger with the reintroduction of David Beckham. The team started 2010 on a tear, winning ten of their first twelve matches. LA didn’t record a single loss until June. The team has been a bit shakier recently, dropping a 2-0 decision to New York at home last weekend and earning a 3-3-1 record in the previous seven games. That being said, the Galaxy have always been a thorn in Chivas’ side and have the firepower this season to continue that trend on Sunday.
The Galaxy engine is driven by US National Team standout Landon Donovan. The 28-year-old superstar leads MLS in the assists category with fourteen, and has found a true target in MLS leading goalscorer and National Team compatriot Edson Buddle. Buddle has come out of his shell this year, notching fourteen goals so far in 2010 and showing true class in front of the net. And with Beckham now back to his old habit of serving perfectly lofted balls in from the flank, the LA striker is primed to continue his rampant scoring. Make no mistake, this is a Galaxy team with a real shot of fighting for this year’s MLS Cup.
Heroes and Villains: Paulo Nagamura vs. Landon Donovan
For Paulo Nagamura, Sunday’s SuperClásico presents an objective that’s easy to define but difficult to achieve; shut down Landon Donovan. Nagamura and Donovan are no strangers to each other; the two played together with the Galaxy in 2005 and 2006, with the pair hoisting both the US Open Cup and the MLS Cup in ’05. On Sunday, they will do battle in the center of The Home Depot Center pitch for control of the midfield. If Nagamura comes out on top, Chivas USA might have a chance at a surprise upset of their in-stadium rivals. But if Donovan can assert his will, it’s going to be a long night for the Red-and-White defense.
Stat that makes you go hmmm…
It’s been 36 months since Chivas USA has beaten the LA Galaxy. The Goats’ last victory came on September 13th of 2007.
Keys to the Game
• Keep Donovan’s influence to a minimum
• Tighten up defense on set pieces
• Exploit Chivas’ aerial weakness with high crosses
• Feed Buddle early and often