SuperClasico to be decided on Sunday

Gonzalez: "We both play here and we never want to lose to [Chivas USA]."

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Robert Mora/LA Galaxy

CARSON, Calif. -- A first look at Sunday’s meeting between the Galaxy and Chivas USA (6 p.m., ESPN, ESPN Deportes) at The Home Depot Center would indicate little, if anything, is at stake. But don’t be fooled by such a cursory glance at the matchup. It is, after all, the SuperClasico and records are secondary when these rivals get together for what promises to be another heated affair.

“We want to win regardless of the fact we’re qualified for the playoffs and they’re not,” head coach Bruce Arena said Thursday.

The Galaxy (18-4-10) have clinched the Supporters’ Shield for the best record in MLS and qualified for the postseason. Chivas USA, winners of just eight of 32 matches this season (8-12-12), are out of the playoff picture and doing nothing but playing out the string.

“This is a game that’s about something else. It’s home turf,” Galaxy defender Omar Gonzalez said, “we both play here and we never want to lose to them. That’s the main thing.”

The Galaxy definitely have an edge in the rivalry. They are 13-3-5 all-time in the regular season, 1-0-1 in the MLS Cup playoffs and 1-0-0 in U.S. Open Cup competition. They are 6-0-3 in the last nine SuperClasicos, including wins in each of the previous five, and haven’t lost since a 3-0 defeat on Sept. 13, 2007.

WATCH: Chad Barrett scores the game winner

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The Galaxy claimed a 1-0 win in the first meeting of the year between the two sides on May 21 with Chad Barrett scoring the game’s only goal. Gonzalez said the circumstances are different for Sunday’s matchup, but he still expects a hard-fought contest.

“This will be a great test for us and this will show our character,” he said.

Said Frankie Hejduk, “It’s the SuperClasico. It’s a big game and we’re trying to keep a rhythm going into the playoffs.

“It’s a huge game for us. You want to be rolling as much as possible before the playoffs hit. These are very important games.”

The Galaxy’s Todd Dunivant said no extra incentive is needed for this weekend.

“It’s always been a great rivalry and it’s going to continue to be on Sunday,” he said. “Both teams have a lot to play for, and neither team wants to lose, that’s for sure. We want to maintain our record at home, but the biggest thing for us is beating our rival. We take a lot of pride in this being our stadium, our home field. It’s our home and we want to win. There’s no question it has extra importance.”

And what does Chivas USA have to play for? Perhaps the Galaxy’s Mike Magee answered that question the best.

“This is their game,” Magee said. “I think their entire season could be meaningful if they can win here.”

Support the team as they look to retain the SuperClasico trophy and an unbeaten record at home this season. Tickets are still available as low as $30 at lagalaxy.com/tickets. BUY NOW