Long live the Galaxy-Chivas Clásico
By my watch it took all of about 4 minutes, 20 seconds for the gloves to be dropped at the "Honda Super Clásico" presser (broadcast talk for press conference) Tuesday at the Stadium Club at The Home Depot Center.
I have been blessed to have called and witnessed some of the world's best rivalries, derbies, clásicos, whatever your preference. Whether it is in Germany, England, Spain, Italy or Scotland. Or on our side of the world, in Brazil, Argentina, Mexico and everywhere in between these matches define not only seasons but also clubs themselves.
And now we can finally add the U.S. as a home for a great clásico as the Galaxy and Chivas get set for the curtain-raiser to what will be the best rivalry in MLS and someday make everyone's top ten list.
Okay sure, there are many variables that make great "clásicos," such as history, geography, religion, time and a few others that are all certainly key ingredients. But make no mistake, both teams will be making up for lost time come Saturday night and there is a lot more riding on the line than three points. And if you consider yourself a soccer fan, there is no other place to be Saturday night.
There are the usual bragging rights of course on the line between front office staffs (I think Staples should be the presenting sponsor of the inaugural Galaxy-Chivas front office clásico played Thursday). With the Galaxy being the original anchor tenants of the HDC, Chivas would love to begin to break in their new home by claiming some territory of their own and a win would do just that.
And there's also the small, very minor bet between Galaxy President Doug Hamilton and his Chivas counterpart Antonio Cue. As it stands now, the loser has to host and pay for a lunch for the media at the Stadium Club, wear the jersey of the winner while at the luncheon, make a $1,000 donation to the winning club's foundation (LAG Foundation Director Gloria King already has that money spent), and color his hair the colors of the winning team. Doug told me later he expects Antonio to go with a green quaff as opposed to the gold, and who can blame him.
Did I mention this small wager is for the FIRST game only? Talk about setting the bar very high. Needless to say we'll have another presser just for the bet surrounding the second meeting next month.
The build up and hype preceding the first clásico is very palpable throughout Los Angeles. It is the talk of the town and the sell-out crowd Saturday night will be in for a truly memorable night. Besides, how often do you get to witness the birth of a clásico? Unless you have a time machine, you had better be there Saturday night.
A colleague of mine asked me early in the week, "How's it been at the HDC with the Galaxy and Chivas working, training and playing side by side?" After a long-winded, but very good answer, I concluded by saying simply. "I'll be at the match, call me up Saturday night at about 9 p.m. and I'll have a better answer for you!"
Viva - or should I say long live - the Galaxy-Chivas clásico.
Until then, see you from the top.
Allen Hopkins is the L.A. Galaxy's color commentator on FSN West and FSN West2, in addition to his commentator duties on Fox Soccer Channel. He can be reach via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author's, and not necessarily those of the Los Angeles Galaxy or Major League Soccer.