Sunday’s SuperClásico Clash will mark the 22nd time that Chivas USA take on the LA Galaxy. Over those 22 games, the co-tenants of The Home Depot Center have developed a fierce rivalry that ranks among the most bitterly contested in MLS.
To celebrate, MLSsoccer.com takes a look at the three matches that did the most to make it so.
3) Welcome to MLS, Mr. Beckham - Aug. 23, 2007
Before the 2007 season, Chivas USA had managed just one victory in eight games against their in-stadium rivals. The Goats had endured a miserable 1-6-1 record against the Galaxy in their first two years in the league, but all that would change in year three. After losing the first contest 3-1 on May 20, the Red-and-White finally pushed back and were able to secure two wins and a draw to earn their first-ever overall Super Clásico trophy.
The crowning moment came on Aug. 23, when Chivas USA handed LA a 3-0 drubbing in front of a stadium full of Galaxy supporters. The Goats came out firing and never looked back in a hotly-contested game that saw then Red-and-White captain Jesse Marsch welcome new LA signing David Beckham to MLS with a hard slide tackle at center field. The foul almost sparked a bench-clearing brawl on the pitch. The match marked the first time that the Goats had ever earned a shutout victory against their hated rivals and the first time the team had ever scored more than two goals against LA.
2) All Even in Autumn - Nov. 1, 2009
The 2009 season finally gave MLS supporters in Los Angeles the one thing they had always dreamt about: a playoff SuperClásico series. With LA finishing first in the West and Chivas ending up in fourth, the two would meet in the postseason for the first time ever.
The first game of the two-legged series was hosted by Chivas USA and was everything that soccer fans hoped a heated rivalry would be. Maicon Santos put the home side ahead in just the fourth minute before Mike Magee equalized in the 14th. Landon Donovan then took the lead for the Galaxy in the 41st minute before Maykel Galindo finally evened the score in the 50th. LA would go on to win the series on a 3-2 aggregate scoreline after a solid 1-0 win in the second game, but that first match saw the Clásico rivalry at its best; an evenly-played game between two opponents that hated and respected each other.
1) The Landon Donovan Show - April 26, 2008
This Sunday matchup was truly the Landon Donovan show. First, he scored in the 18th minute to put LA ahead. Then Sacha Kljestan pushed back with a notch of his own in the 38th. Donovan again put the Galaxy out in front in the 59th minute only to see Ante Razov equalize in the 63rd. But it was all LA from there – Alan Gordon secured a brace with goals in the 76th and 84th minutes, and Donovan capped off his hat-trick with a strike in the 78th. Final score: 5-2 for LA.
This game had it all. A sell-out, riotous crowd at The Home Depot Center, back-and-forth scoring, relentless tackling, brilliant play from the US National Team’s resident superstar, and seven total goals. This Clásico truly was Super.
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