CARSON, Calif. – The “Three Points” to Sunday’s SuperClásico between the LA Galaxy and Chivas USA. (8 p.m. PT, ESPN2, ESPN Deportes, AM 1150, 1330 AM, 1220 AM, LIVECHAT)
1) TIME TO GET THE GANG BACK TOGETHER?
Last week’s defeat to the Seattle Sounders was a difficult loss for the LA Galaxy to handle and the answer to those defensive woes may be to return to the club’s primary back four in 2011.
Last season, the quartet of Sean Franklin, A.J. DeLaGarza, Omar Gonzalez and Todd Dunivant made 17 stars together during LA’s run to the MLS Cup title. Now with injury concerns for Gonzalez (knee surgery) and Dunivant (right calf hematoma) subsided, head coach Bruce Arena may have the opportunity to start the group together for the first time this season in the SuperClásico.
If that group starts together on Sunday, they’ll likely be tested from the outset by Chivas USA’s high pressure attack which be will be bolstered by the returning forward Juan Agudelo (knee injury) and recent acquisition midfielder Shalrie Joseph.
2) CONTAIN SHALRIE JOSEPH
Chivas USA are a vastly different side than the one the Galaxy defeated several weeks ago and much of that improvement stems from the acquisition of midfielder Shalrie Joseph from the New England Revolution.
Joseph arrives at Chivas USA after spending the better part of a decade with the Revs but with his time in New England ending on a sour note, Joseph is intensely motivated to help his new club to a playoff berth. Joseph is expected to make his Rojiblancos debut on Sunday and provide a link-up role between Chivas’ defense and their stagnant attack.
With physical defensive midfielder Oswaldo Minda likely providing support –and protection—for Joseph, the Galaxy’s central midfield pair of Juninho and Marcelo Sarvas must control the center of the park and limit opportunities for Joseph to influence the match.
3) BOUNCE BACK MENTALLY
Perhaps what is most important for the Galaxy, however, will be their ability to recover and forget about last week’s disappointing defeat to Seattle.
Following the loss, Galaxy players admitted that the team needed to hit the reset button after a difficult performance in Seattle. With Chivas sitting just one spot behind the Galaxy in the Western Conference standings with four games in hand, the Galaxy can not afford another disappointing showing.
If the Galaxy are able to come out strong in the SuperClásico, LA could earn an important victory that would create some needed distance between themselves and Chivas while inching closer to the fourth place Vancouver Whitecaps.
Adam Serrano is the LA Galaxy Insider. Read his blog at LAGalaxy.com/Insider