Chivas USA-Galaxy Preview

Although Sunday night’s SuperClasico matchup between the Los

Angeles Galaxy and Chivas USA won’t impact the postseason picture,

that doesn’t make it meaningless to these teams.

The Galaxy have won their last five meetings with their Home

Depot Center co-tenants heading into the latest installment of this

rivalry.

Los Angeles (18-4-10) has clinched the Supporters’ Shield while

Chivas USA (8-12-12) has been eliminated from playoff contention.

In addition, the Galaxy have a huge game Thursday at Honduran club

Motagua to finish group play in the CONCACAF Champions League.

The Galaxy, who will be the home team Sunday, insist their focus

is on Chivas and protecting their 11-0-5 home mark.

“This is a game that’s about something else. It’s home turf,”

defender Omar Gonzalez told the Galaxy’s official website. “We both

play here and we never want to lose to them. That’s the main

thing.”

Los Angeles will be short-handed, with Irish superstar Robbie

Keane out with an adductor muscle injury suffered in a Euro 2012

qualifier. Landon Donovan, however, could return from a quad strain

that kept him out of the Galaxy’s 2-0 loss at New York on Oct. 4 as

well as two matches for the U.S. national team.

Coach Bruce Arena has not revealed plans for his lineup.

“We want to win regardless of the fact we’re qualified for the

playoffs and they’re not,” Arena said.

Los Angeles owns a nine-game unbeaten streak in the rivalry with

six victories, including a 1-0 result May 21 as Chad Barrett scored

in front of a sellout crowd of 27,000.

Juan Pablo Angel played the entire match for Los Angeles, but

was traded Aug. 17 to Chivas. Angel has seven goals in seven games

with his new team, including six in his last four.

“It’s a unique situation. It’s the team that I started off the

year playing for and now I will play against them,” Angel told the

league’s official website. “It only happens here (in MLS), but for

me, I just need to handle the game and I’d like to play well. It’s

as simple as that.”

The Galaxy are eager to end Angel’s run of goals.

“He was a great teammate and we’re happy for him,” Donovan said.

“We just don’t want him to score on Sunday.”

Gonzalez and David Beckham will want to be careful since they

are one yellow card away from drawing a one-game suspension.

Beckham, who has been bothered by back spasms, has been among the

league leaders all season with 10 cautions.

Chivas defender Heath Pearce could return after missing the last

two games with a hamstring injury. He would boost a defense that

has allowed nine goals in five contests, though it’s given up just

one during Pearce’s absence.

Although MLS Cup 2011 will be held at The Home Depot Center on

Nov. 20, the Galaxy believe Chivas will treat this contest like a

cup final.

“This is their game,” Galaxy forward Mike Magee said. “I think

their entire season could be meaningful if they can win here.”