CARSON, Calif. — There’s always a lot of hype surrounding the Honda SuperClásico. People like to talk about how much Chivas USA and the LA Galaxy don’t like each other, about how brutal the game will be, and about how intense the rivalry is.
The thing is, those people are right. The Goats and the Galaxy don’t like each other. The games are brutal. The rivalry is real.
“These games are always a battle,” LA defender Omar Gonzalez said at a press conference on Friday afternoon. “We play in the same stadium, we practice on the same campus – we always want to beat each other.”
The Galaxy enter Sunday’s match with the best record in MLS and an assured place in the 2010 postseason. Chivas USA, meanwhile, sit in last place in the Western Conference and hold onto slim hopes of a fifth consecutive playoff appearance.
But none of that will matter for an hour and a half this weekend.
“These games are special in the sense that standings – where you are in the table – don’t really matter,” said Chivas USA left back Ante Jazic. “It’s just 90 minutes of battling and scrapping. We want to win this SuperClásico.”
The Goats haven’t been able to defeat the Galaxy since September of 2007, a statistic Chivas USA are eager to change and one that the Galaxy intend to uphold.
“This is my second year and [I haven’t] lost to Chivas yet,” said Gonzalez. “I’d like to keep it that way.”
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Chivas USA are especially keen to avenge their 2009 playoff expulsion at the hands of LA. The Red-and-White were pushed out thanks to a 3-2 aggregate score against the Galaxy.
“Being eliminated from the playoffs last year by the Galaxy was painful,” said Jazic. “The Galaxy definitely feel like they own the stadium and that Chivas are the tenants. For us, we’re still trying to earn that respect.”
Whatever the outcome of Sunday’s game, the match is likely to be a lively one. The Honda SuperClásico never fails to disappoint when it comes to a tenacious game of soccer and an electric atmosphere.
“The atmosphere has a European flavor to it,” said Jazic. “Not just on the field, but in The Home Depot Center stands. Just the tension in the air is electric and everyone feels it. That’s special because it doesn’t happen often in MLS.”