Chivas USA-Galaxy Preview
A battle to use the weight room this week has only served to heighten the intensity for this weekend's MLS SuperClasico.
The Los Angeles Galaxy have only lost once over the last five seasons against Chivas USA as these teams play their first 2013 meeting Sunday.
These Home Depot Center co-tenants share the same training facilities, and some gamesmanship may have been in order Friday when players from Chivas USA (1-1-0) used the gym in the morning, typically a time when Los Angeles (1-0-0) occupies it.
That moment wasn't lost on Galaxy defender Omar Gonzalez.
"They were in the gym for the first time I think and a lot of our guys couldn't get in there," Gonzalez told the Galaxy's official website. "That was a little bit different and kind of awkward. But we're just looking toward Sunday."
Spanish-speaking first-year Chivas USA coach Jose Luis Sanchez Sola has quickly gained notoriety for his colorful analogies in his native language, and has stated his dislike for the Galaxy.
There may be something lost in translation, but it's clear that he recognizes his team's status as second-best locally to the glamorous defending MLS Cup champions.
"I could not like Ferrari or the houses in Beverly Hills," Sanchez Sola told Chivas' official website. "I recognize the greatness of the team."
Galaxy coach Bruce Arena didn't take the bait to fire back at his counterpart, who successfully coached several Mexican teams before joining MLS.
"His track record speaks for itself. He's proven to be successful," Arena said. "He's given this team inspiration and organization and leadership."
Los Angeles is 10-1-4 over the last five seasons against its arch-rivals. Chivas ended a 12-match winless run in the series with a 1-0 victory last season before being outscored 7-1 in losses in the next two.
Chivas will be the more rested team after last Sunday's 3-1 comeback victory over FC Dallas. Juan Agudelo, Oswaldo Minda and Giovani Casillas had the goals.
The Galaxy played Wednesday in a 4-1 victory over Herediano of Costa Rica in the CONCACAF Champions League. Los Angeles advanced to a semifinal matchup with two-time defending champion Monterrey of Mexico.
"It'll be a great matchup against Monterrey, they're a top team in Mexico and it'll be a good match up to see where we are," midfielder Jose Villarreal said. "But I'm focused on the Chivas game right now and I'm just thinking about that."
Gonzalez, Villarreal, Robbie Keane and Jack McBean all scored for Los Angeles, which has not played an MLS match since an impressive 4-0 victory over Chicago in its March 3 opener.
Mike Magee had a hat trick against the Fire, with Keane adding the other goal.
Keane and Juninho each scored twice last season versus Chivas.
This year's contests could be more physical. Chivas already has 38 fouls and eight yellow cards in two games, and the Galaxy are well aware of what to expect.
"They're going to try to kick us and frustrate us and we're going to do the same," Magee said.
Los Angeles is Sunday's home team.