CARSON, Calif. — The Galaxy haven’t lost to Chivas USA since 2007, and haven’t allowed a regular-season goal against their Home Depot Center co-tenants since 2008.
To say the SuperClásico series has gone the Galaxy’s way would be like saying Landon Donovan had some good moments with Everton this winter.
After LA’s latest victory over Chivas, a ho-hum 2-0 win on Thursday, Galaxy players said their victory on the night was due to one major factor: They worked harder for the win.
“Our competitiveness was very good and in this game that has to be the starting point,” Donovan said after the match. “Whether you play well in these games as a team, who doesn’t really matter, you have to be able to compete and I think we out-competed them. We outworked them, we outran them and that's why we won.”
Edson Buddle scored both goals and now has accounted for all three of the Galaxy’s goals on the year.
LA improved its regular-season record over Chivas to 11-3-5 and picked up its fourth consecutive regular-season shutout against its rivals. The Galaxy also ensured they will go three calendar years without a league loss to Chivas -- the clubs will next meet on Oct. 3 in the only other SuperClásico on the schedule.
Chivas maintained possession for much of the game but the Galaxy picked their spots well, scoring on their only two shots on goal of the match. Buddle scored in the seventh minute and added a second goal three minutes from time.
“We were obviously opportunistic,” said Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena. “The early goal again was an important goal in the game. They had no chances really the entire game until [Jesús] Padilla had that outstanding opportunity.”
Aside from Padilla’s 80th-minute attempt, the Galaxy never felt threatened by Chivas; not that Galaxy players were surprised by Chivas’ lack of punch.
“They had a lot of the ball and they moved the ball well,” Donovan said. “Like always with them, they weren’t overly dangerous. They had one good chance, but aside from that, they weren't all that dangerous.”
About the only thing that went wrong was Buddle’s teeth. The LA striker took an elbow to the mouth in the season-opener and had a splint placed on his teeth to keep them in place. Midway through the first half, he took another shot to the teeth and bad memories flooded him.
“[Sacha Kljestan] hit me with an elbow but it wasn't flush so I still have my teeth,” Buddle said.
A week ago, New England’s Pat Phelan did the damage. But Buddle didn’t have time to react to that shot, other than to lay on the ground in pain. But Thursday, Buddle said he was instantly irritated.
“He put his body in there but he came in kind of high of his elbow,” Buddle said. “Just [had] a flashback with all the teeth things going on, so I was just a little bit upset.”
Buddle drew a yellow card for unsporting behavior but he insisted his chat with Kljestan was about a possible outing with his rival.
“We see each other so much here that we're having lunch this weekend,” Buddle said. “He’s picking up the tab. We won so he has to pay.”
For the second consecutive match, the Galaxy’s defense pitched a shutout. While New England had a few opportunities in the season opener, Chivas were limited to six shots with just two on frame.
The Red-and-White whimpered out of the 19th regular-season SuperClásico but will live to fight another day. Someday, the series won’t have the same one-sidedness the Galaxy enjoy now. When that day will be remains to be seen, but it will happen, someday.
“These things go in cycles,” Arena said. “We’ve just been fortunate at this point in time. Chivas will win their share of games in this rivalry. There is no question about that. At this point in time, we've had the upper hand.”