CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy have moved on from last Friday’s 2-0 loss to the New York Red Bulls, and the less said about it the better. Head coach Bruce Arena said he and the players haven’t even discussed it, although some apparently took a little longer than others to get over it.
“Sunday night wasn’t easy,” said Edson Buddle, who continues to lead MLS in goals scored with 14. “I’ve learned over the years just to let it go and learn from the loss.”
Short memories notwithstanding, the Galaxy now can concentrate on this Sunday’s clash against none other than Chivas USA in the season’s second meeting of the SuperClasico. The Galaxy won the earlier matchup, 2-0, on April 1 and will try to win their third consecutive SuperClasico and fifth in the six-year history of the competition. The Galaxy are 11-3-5 all-time against their Home Depot Center co-tenants, including 4-1-3 when playing as the road team, which they will be Sunday.
There isn’t much at stake this weekend, other than the fact that the Galaxy already have clinched a playoff berth – they recently became the first MLS club to do so – and Chivas USA’s postseason chances are slim, if not improbable. The Galaxy, in fact, can officially end Chivas’ playoff hopes with a win or draw.
Galaxy midfielder Eddie Lewis said the dynamics of the latest meeting between the rivals have changed, and he also said potentially knocking Chivas out of the postseason picture doesn’t really matter that much. He’s more concerned with the Galaxy’s fortunes as the regular season enters its final weeks.
“In all honesty,” he said, “we’re probably viewing the game more on our own terms, in terms of the fact we want to be able to finish the regular season in strong form. I think Chivas’ destiny has sort of been in their own hands all season, and I think that will take care of itself."
“But I do envision it to be a chippy affair, probably at times borderline hostile. Given the natural history and rivalry that exists, I think the fact that both teams are at kind of opposite ends of the spectrum at the moment is going to make it a difficult match on the field, but with quite a bit going off the ball.”
Lewis said last Friday’s loss to the Red Bulls doesn’t make this Sunday’s game any more important, although the defeat remains unsettling. “Any way you look at it last weekend is going to be difficult to swallow,” he pointed out.
He also said the New York game was a difficult one for a number of reasons. “We were looking at some things as well as dealing with a few other issues,” he said. “There were kind of tough circumstances for us and it kind of played out that way, which was unfortunate. Regardless, this is a different setup and everybody’s available."
“I think you’ll see a much-improved team this weekend.”
Arena said he still enjoys the annual meetings with Chivas USA, although he doesn’t care about the potential playoff impact of Sunday’s clash from a Chivas standpoint, which he called “immaterial.”
“I don’t even know that’s a fact,” he said about potentially knocking their Western Conference rival out of the playoffs. “I don’t even care.”
Arena did say the showdown is especially attractive from the fans’ standpoint.
“I think this game is a big game for the supporters of both teams,” he said. “They like these games. I’m not saying that the players don’t, so it makes for a good competition and certainly a game we feel we need to win.”