CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy’s Hector Jimenez grew up a fan of the team and used to watch the annual SuperClasico’s between the defending MLS Cup champions and Chivas USA. Now he’ll finally get to play in one.
Last year’s second round draft pick (34th overall) out of Cal-Berkeley understandably can’t wait for Saturday’s latest battle between The Home Depot Center co-tenants (7 p.m., KDOC, Telefutura, AM 1150, 1330 AM, LIVE CHAT).
WATCH: Galaxy preview SuperClasico
“I’m super excited,” Jimenez said after Friday’s light training session, which was the club’s first following the 2-2 draw in Vancouver on Wednesday. “I can’t wait to get the first one under my belt.”
Jimenez, who has started the last six games on the right side of midfield, has two good friends playing for Chivas in former Galaxy teammate Paolo Cardozo and Cesar Romero, a rival from his youth soccer days. But friendships go on hold when these teams meet.
Saturday’s game is a rematch of a May 19 game in which Chivas got a 71st-minute goal courtesy of a Jose Erik Correa penalty kick to defeat the Galaxy 1-0.
Jimenez said he hasn’t forgotten that game – “It’s something that always stands out,” he said – and already has a good idea of what kind of emotions he’ll be feeling Saturday.
“They’re our neighbors, a real rivalry,” he said. “But we have to step on the field with them and let them know this is our field and they’re the ones paying the rent here.”
Also looking forward to the rematch is the Galaxy’s Robbie Keane, who missed the earlier game because of a tight hamstring. He has been on a tear of late, with four goals in his last three games, including two each against the Chicago Fire and Portland Timbers.
“This is a game I’m certainly excited to be involved in,” he said, “but it will only be good if we get a result. Two teams that have been in good form, and hopefully it will be a decent game for the public to watch.”
Chivas USA (6-7-5, sixth in the Western Conference) is coming off a 1-0 victory over the Portland Timbers on Wednesday at The Home Depot Center. It was only the third victory of the season at home for a team that has been offensively challenged, to say the least. Chivas has scored the fewest goals in Major League Soccer (12), but it’s also allowed the fewest (18), earning goalkeeper Dan Kennedy his first-ever spot in the MLS All-Star Game.
Former Galaxy striker Juan Pablo Angel leads the visitors with three goals on the season while Correa and Alejandro Moreno are next with two each. However, that trio has scored just three times in seven games since the May 19 meeting with the Galaxy.
The Galaxy (8-10-3, fifth in the West) are coming off a two-game swing through the Pacific Northwest that started with a wild 5-3 victory over Portland and concluded Wednesday with a thrilling 2-2 tie against Vancouver. The Galaxy scored twice in the last nine minutes, the second goal compliments of rookie of Jose Villarreal with just three minutes left in regulation.
Keane said he is optimistic for Saturday.
“With the work ethic the lads have been putting in and the attitude we have,” he said, “we certainly have a good chance to win the game.”