In the latest edition of "By the Numbers" LAGalaxy.com looks back at the history of the SuperClasico between the LA Galaxy and Chivas USA.
The Rojiblancos host the Galaxy on Sunday in the first edition of the 2014 SuperClasico series.
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CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy know that Chivas USA is much different than the side that was thumped 5-0 in the last edition of the SuperClasico.
Under new head coach Wilmer Cabrera, Chivas have amassed five points and a 1-1-2 record due to the production of MLS leading goal scorer Erick “El Cubo” Torres—four goals—and playmaker Mauro Rosales who has notched three assists.
Despite many false starts for the Rojiblancos in recent years, Galaxy attacker Landon Donovan believes that Chivas is a new team heading into the 2014 season.
“My impression of Chivas USA is that they are much better. The game Sunday is going to be a difficult game," said Donovan. "They’re much more organized and they have some playmakers and if that continue then it is better for the rivalry.”
Donovan, who is hoping to gain sole possession of the league’s all-time regular season goal scoring mark on Sunday, did not hold back his praise of Torres.
“Torres is one of the best forwards in the league and he’s completely underrated because he plays in that franchise, but he’s absolutely fantastic,” said Donovan.
CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy are hurting at right back, which will likely give Dan Gargan his first start in an LA uniform in Sunday’s SuperClasico.
With A.J. DeLaGarza still nursing a left ankle contusion and James Riley out for the next six months to repair a torn meniscus, Gargan is the likely candidate to slide into the outside back spot ahead of the match against Chivas. Signed just before the start of the 2013 campaign for just this purpose, Gargan admits that he’s ready for the challenge.
“Any player comes into a team with the desire to get on the field. Any opportunity that you get, I certainly want to take advantage of it,” said Gargan. “I’m looking forward to it. It’ll be my first Clasico and it has some history.”
Gargan was a member of Chivas USA in 2008 but never played in a game for that club before returning to the league a year later.
“That was an interesting time for me,” he recalled. “I had personal stuff that kind of outweighed me playing at the time that I had to take care of.
“I was lucky enough to be able to address those and still come back to have an opportunity to play again. It's been quite a path. To know the place I've been and the hard work it's taken is rewarding. Certainly there's a lot of lessons to be learned along the way and you keep those with you.”
CARSON, Calif. – Jaime Penedo is set to return to the fold this Sunday when the LA Galaxy take on Chivas USA in the SuperClasico.
Penedo was unable to suit up in LA’s last MLS match against Real Salt Lake on March 22 as he returned to Panama to finalize his visa, but is expecting to be back in the fold for Sunday’s match against LA’s cross-hall rivals.
“I feel good. I feel ready to play and to be able to support the team,” Penedo, who admitted that he, is still smarting over LA’s CCL defeat to Club Tijuana. “I think that I’m ready to support the team as soon as we play this weekend.”
Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena also gave Penedo the green light stating that the goalkeeper is “close to 100 percent” and will “definitely be available” for the Chivas USA match.
Pleased Penedo will be back in the lineup? Think Perk deserves another game?
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LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena, captain Robbie Keane and defender Todd Dunivant each spoke to LAGalaxy.com's Chris Thomas and Paolo Ferrari ahead of Sunday's SuperClasico.
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MLSsoccer.com's Dan Haiek and Matt Doyle broke down the SuperClasico in the latest edition of the website's "Scouting Report"
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CARSON, Calif. – Once the Galaxy kick off on Sunday, it will have been 182 days since Landon Donovan tied up Jeff Cunningham’s MLS all-time regular season goal scoring record last October against Chivas USA. Now Donovan will have an opportunity to gain sole possession of the league’s goal scoring record against that same Chivas side.
The 32-year-old has yet to find the back of the net in LA’s two MLS regular season matches or their CONCACAF Champions League series against Club Tijuana, but has tallied a great strike record against Chivas with 12 goals in all MLS competitions. Donovan is expecting to be in the lineup on Sunday despite suffering from tendonitis in his knee during his time with the U.S. National Team earlier in the week which prevented him from starting against Mexico.
Although the SuperClasico is always a heated match despite LA’s dominance in the series standings, Donovan downplayed the idea that breaking the league’s goal scoring record against the cross-hall rivals would mean any more to him.
“I don’t think it would mean more because it’s against them, but I just like to score goals," said Donovan after training on Friday. "I feel like I've played pretty well in the first four games and I played okay the other night [against Mexico]. I feel like I’m doing well and moving well, but it’s always nice to hit the goal and I want to hit the goal.”
Donovan admits that he needs to be more selfish toward goal, but was quick to dispel any notion that the hunt for goal 135 is wearing on the attacker.
“I’m in a different phase. I don’t judge how I play based on if I score,” Donovan said. “I've played a lot of bad games where I scored then thought ‘oh, I’m great’ but I’d rather continue playing well and not score. I deserve for myself, I deserve to score. I deserve to score and I’m looking to score.”
LAGalaxy.com was on the ground for the United States vs. Mexico and I spoke to fans of both side about their teams heading into the World Cup and the fiercest rivalry in CONCACAF.
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GLENDALE, Ariz. – It was a tale of two halves for U.S. National Team defender Omar Gonzalez.
In the opening stanza, Gonzalez was sold on both sides of the ball as he helped in the build-up of the Americans opening goal while also repeatedly snuffing out scoring attempts by a Mexican attack that was toothless early. But in the second half, Gonzalez found himself the victim of a Mexico screen play that allowed Rafael Marquez to score Mexico’s first goal before he and Real Salt Lake defender Tony Beltran were caught out of position on Alan Pulido’s goal.
After the match, Gonzalez which the Galaxy defender stated resembled a World Cup game, he admitted that there is still plenty of work to be done as he looks to lock down a starting spot for the USMNT in Brazil.
“These games are all about preparations and building team chemistry and I thought that overall, the team played well,” said Gonzalez. “We just had to get better at set pieces, I got picked on that set piece goal, but it’s something that I’m happy had in a friendly rather than a world cup. I’m definitely working on it.”
And despite declaring the race for the center back role alongside Matt Besler open, Klinsmann stated that he’d stick by Gonzalez and allow him to state his case for starting in Brazil.
“It’s normal that they struggle right now because they barely start their season. They have two to three games in their season, so Mexico is far ahead of us in terms of rhythm and stuff like that,” said Klinsmann.” We are patient in the process. Obviously, in two months from now, I will make the decisions who is going to be the ideal pairing and the two center backs.”
GLENDALE, Ariz. – Tendonitis in Landon Donovan’s knee led the LA Galaxy star to be a shock omission from the U.S. National Team starting lineup for their 2-2 draw against Mexico.
What Donovan jokingly described as “old man issues,” helped lead to contribute to a poor training session by the Galaxy midfielder according to head coach Jurgen Klinsmann leading the U.S. boss to leave him on the substitutes’ bench for the start of the match.
“He had no tempo in his training sessions, he had no kind of higher pace, higher rhythm, he didn’t take people on, so I sat him down [Wednesday] morning and we actually went through his training session yesterday,” said Klinsmann. “I told him based on what I saw the last three days, ‘I can’t leave [Chris Wondolowski] out there because Wondo deserves after two goals against South Korea. He’s working so hard.’
“[Donovan] understood it.” Klinsmann added, ‘[He said,] Yeah, I didn’t have good training sessions and I have a little bit of issues with my knee,’ and I told him, ‘You’re ready coming off the bench.’ He was ready; he came off the bench, so no problem at all.”
Once he came on in the 59th minute, Donovan did not look out of sorts as he made several dangerous runs up field as he attempted to kick start the U.S. offense amid a dominating second half showing by El Tri.
“I felt good tonight. It was nice to get some minutes on the field, obviously, I wanted to start the game, but circumstances didn’t allow that,” said Donovan. “It was fun to be a part of this game and another great game between these two teams.
“When I’m healthy and I train, I train well. This week, I had some tendinitis and I couldn’t play the way that I want to,” he said. “It was good to back off a little bit and still get some minutes tonight.”