CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy aren’t expecting to face same Chivas USA that stole a late draw in the last edition of the SuperClasico back in March. In fact, the Galaxy doesn’t know what to expect from the Rojiblancos.
Chivas has undergone considerable turnover since that draw as they fired their head coach Jose Luis Sanchez Sola in May and quickly threw out his aggressive—and overly physical—style of play. Replacing “El Chelis” is former Chivas de Guadalajara boss Jose Luis “Güero” Real, who seeks to install a possession-oriented attack that emphasizes defensive organization. Also on the outs at Chivas are forward Juan Agudelo, who was dealt to the New England Revolution and midfielders Eric Avila and Giovani Casillas who were sent to train with Guadalajara.
Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena said on Friday that he expects a “more orthodox” Chivas than the team that racked up fouls in their 1-1 draw back in March, but Arena’s players admit that Chivas’ turnover makes them a threat.
“They changed their manager and they play a different way so we don't know much about them and how their manager wants them to play. This could be a tricky one,” said goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini. “In these kinds of games, you can get results mostly on character and how willing you are to die on the pitch. I’m sure considering the place that they are in now; this is, for sure, what we should expect from them. We have to match them in every way.”
Chivas may be a mystery, but Galaxy center back Omar Gonzalez believes that LA must focus on what they can control and that’s their own preparations.
“You just have to worry about yourselves. Worry about how you can come to the game with the right mentality and make sure that right from the whistle, [you're] putting pressure on them and not letting them play,” said Gonzalez. “I think that if we stay solid defensively, then our chances will always come with Robbie, Landon and the front guys.”
Both sides will be out to snap their recent losing streaks with LA winless in their last three MLS matches while Chivas has not earned a result in nine MLS contests. Although Chivas may appear to be an appetizing target for the Galaxy to snap their winless streak, the Galaxy refuse to overlook their in-stadium rivals.
“They are one of those teams that seem to lose a lot of games, but when you're playing a derby game, everything goes out the window,” said Galaxy captain Robbie Keane. “It'll be a tough game, but you can't underestimate them. We're certainly going to be the favorites, but I think when you're playing against a team like this…or a derby game, it’s a completely different scenario.”