Chivas riding high heading into SuperClásico
CARSON, Calif. – Chivas USA are riding high after their 3-2 victory over the New York Red Bulls, but are eager to put their troubles against cross-hall rivals LA Galaxy behind them on Saturday (10 pm ET, ESPN2/ESPN Deportes).
The Rojiblancos have failed to pick up a win against the Galaxy since 2007, and their record in SuperClásicos they’ve hosted is a withering 1-5-3.
As has been commonplace this season in Robin Fraser's building process, the emphasis is placed on the present rather than the past.
"The previous matches don't matter. We all have a good idea of what to expect, the game is going to be high energy and the fans will be great and it'll be fun," said goalkeeper Dan Kennedy. "I think that the team is in a good point in the season right now, and if we do everything that we're capable of doing, then what the Galaxy do won't matter."
Chivas USA's lineup for the derby will almost certainly see a change in Fraser’s starting XI from the match against New York. Right back Michael Lahoud has not practiced this week after suffering a concussion in the game at Red Bull Arena, while defender Andy Boyens will return from a one match suspension and could slot back into the starting lineup.
Rookie Zarek Valentin will probably slide over to the right back spot with Boyens taking up the role as Heath Pearce’s partner in central defense. Given the responsibility of stopping a Galaxy attack spearheaded by a red-hot Landon Donovan, who has scored seven goals in the last five matches, Fraser’s advice for his defense is simple: Stay organized.
“We need to play good, organized soccer. If you’re not organized, then they’re very good at picking apart the holes and the weaknesses,” Fraser said. “We have to be a good, cohesive unit defensively and offensively. We need to be good on the ball and not give the ball away a lot. If we do, then they’ll get chances.”
While the SuperClásico remains a heated topic with fans and with the two front offices, the mood around The Home Depot Center - the home venue for both teams - is far more civil. Chivas USA have several former Galaxy players, including Fraser and assistant Greg Vanney as well as Rojiblancos regular starters Simon Elliott and Ante Jazic.
For Vanney, who played for the Galaxy from 1996-2001 and again in '08, Chivas USA's proximity to the Galaxy, both emotionally and physically - the two front offices sit a paltry 108 feet apart - makes it a must-win match for the Goats.
“Having the locker rooms so close, many guys on our team have friends in [the Galaxy's] locker room, and no one wants to lose to their friends, said Vanney. "Sometimes it’s worse to lose to your friends than it is to lose to an enemy, so that adds a bit of a flair and intensity to the game.
"No one wants to lose to the guys that you have to walk past every day, so in that way, this match is very special.”
Adam Serrano covers Chivas USA for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter: @adamserrano