Galaxy-Chivas USA Preview
While the playoff-bound Los Angeles Galaxy are trying to win the Supporters' Shield, Chivas USA is hoping to avoid finishing at the bottom of the Western Conference.
These Home Depot Center co-tenants know those factors mean nothing heading into Sunday night's second SuperClasico meeting of 2010.
Los Angeles (15-6-5) built the best record in MLS entering the regular season's final month and is locked in a tight race to try to maintain it.
It's been a dismal campaign for Chivas USA (7-14-4), which has the lowest point total in the West with 25 and will likely miss the playoffs for the first time in five years.
That won't stop Chivas from trying to end a frustrating run against its archrival. Los Angeles is unbeaten in the series (4-0-3) since losing Sept. 13, 2007.
"These games are special in the sense that standings - where you are in the table - don't really matter," Chivas USA defender Ante Jazic said. "It's just 90 minutes of battling and scrapping. We want to win this SuperClasico."
The Galaxy have not played since a 2-0 home loss to New York last Friday. They are 3-4-1 since the start of August while Chivas USA is 2-5-1 in the same span, making this matchup more even than it would seem on paper.
"These games are always a battle," Galaxy defender Omar Gonzalez said. "We play in the same stadium, we practice on the same campus - we always want to beat each other."
Gonzalez will return to the lineup after he missed the New York match due to yellow card accumulation. His partner in central defense, Gregg Berhalter, also could return after missing the previous six matches with a neck injury.
Chivas still has bitter memories of being ousted from last season's MLS playoffs by Los Angeles on Landon Donovan's penalty kick in the 73rd minute of the second leg.
"Being eliminated from the playoffs last year by the Galaxy was painful," Jazic said. "The Galaxy definitely feel like they own the stadium and that Chivas are the tenants. For us, we're still trying to earn that respect."
The first meeting since the playoffs was a 2-0 victory for Los Angeles on April 1 as Edson Buddle scored both goals.
The Galaxy have a healthy David Beckham in the lineup this time as they get ready for their first match against a familiar face.
Alan Gordon spent his first seven seasons with the Galaxy before he was traded to Chivas on Aug. 5. Gordon was Los Angeles' longest-tenured player, totaling 16 goals and 12 assists in 99 regular-season games with the club.
"I have little tips and tendencies that on their team guys have that I can make the players on our team aware of," Gordon said. "But nothing too serious, just little things."