The games played between the Los Angeles Galaxy and Chivas USA have been dubbed the S&uactue;per Clásico. But to date, it has been more akin to a super domination on the part of the Galaxy. In the six all-time meetings so far, the Galaxy have won all six.
Earlier this year though, Chivas USA showed some signs of life in the series. After taking an early second half lead, Chivas held on until the final 10 minutes of the game. Then Landon Donovan did what Landon Donovan does, and linked up with Cornell Glen for two late goals to steal the three points away from their in-stadium rivals. Both players are in Germany right now with the U.S. and Trinidad & Tobago, respectively, for the World Cup.
That was an early indication that the rivalry might actually be gaining some legitimacy. In recent weeks, the fortunes of both teams have taken dramatic turns away from the traditional. Chivas has been playing well enough to have people mentioning the playoffs and the Red-and-White in the same breath. A 4-1 win against Colorado last week showed that they can score in bunches, while a 1-0 win against Chicago in the previous game proved that they can also win close games.
The Galaxy, on the other hand, are on a downward slide. Losers of their last six, the Galaxy can't even buy a goal, having only scored once in that stretch. Their recent struggles have given Chivas USA even more confidence heading into Thursday night's game.
"It's a great opportunity for us. We have to turn the ship around and Chivas are pretty hopeful about their chances," said Galaxy left fullback Todd Dunivant. "That's fun. I've read some of their comments and they're pretty cocky at this point."
While the players have been as diplomatic as they can be considering the magnitude of this game, Antonio Cué, part-owner of Chivas USA, has all but guaranteed a win.
"He (Cué) can guarantee a win if he laces up the boots and comes out to play," said Herculez Gomez earlier this week in training. "I don't see his players talking much. I don't mistake fear with respect, but I think they respect us."
However, the Galaxy have been in a funk lately. The passion seems to have left them in recent games, and at times during this losing streak the players have appeared to just be going through the motions. In order to change that, Galaxy president and general manager Alexi Lalas let go Steve Sampson and hired Frank Yallop to be the new head coach.
Yallop will have his first taste of the rivalry on Thursday night. If he has any questions as to what to expect, he needs just to ask his players.
"Every time we play these guys (Chivas), there's a little extra incentive, a little extra passion," said Dunivant. "It's our home turf and we haven't lost yet. We're not looking for that to change this week."
Greg Daurio is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.