The first leg of the SuperClásico is set for Saturday night as Chivas USA and the LA Galaxy meet for the first time in 2011. Chivas are coming off an impressive 3-2 win at New York, their third win in four games. The Galaxy put paid to a three-game winless run with a standout win of their own, a 4-1 thrashing of Sporting Kansas City. Chivas is looking to put an end to an eight-game Galaxy unbeaten streak in the SuperClásico, their last win coming in 2007.
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REFEREE: Jair Marrufo. SAR (bench): Chris Strickland; JAR (opposite): Frank Anderson; 4th: Fotis Bazakos
Marrufo's MLS Career: 113 games; FC/gm: 25.0; Y/gm: 3.3; R: 28; pens: 40
INJURY REPORT: CHIVAS USA – OUT: MF Blair Gavin (L hamstring strain); MF Paulo Nagamura (L calf strain); DF Jimmy Conrad (concussion); DOUBTFUL: FW Tristan Bowen (L ankle sprain); DF Seth Owusu (R knee sprain); DF Michael Lahoud (concussion)
LA GALAXY – OUT: DF Sean Alvarado (R knee surgery), DF Leonardo (R knee surgery); QUESTIONABLE: FW Adam Cristman (L knee surgery recovery)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
SUSPENDED: CHV: Marcos Mondaini (through June 1)
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: none
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: LA: Juninho
ALL-TIME (20 meetings): Chivas USA 3 wins, 18 goals … Galaxy 12 wins, 32 goals … Ties 5
CHIVAS USA HOME GAMES (9 meetings): Chivas USA 1 win, 8 goals … Galaxy 5 wins, 11 goals … Ties 3
RETURN MATCH: 10/16: LA Galaxy vs. Chivas USA, 6 p.m. PT (ESPN)
LAST YEAR (MLS):
4/1: LA 2, CHV 0 (Buddle 7, 87)
10/3: CHV 1, LA 2 (Gordon 63 – Buddle 24; Beckham 39)
• Chivas USA haven’t defeated the Galaxy since the 2007 season, when they won the final two league meetings that season. The Galaxy have won five of the eight meetings since (with three draws), including both last season, and also had a win and a draw when the clubs met in the 2009 MLS Cup Playoffs.
• Alan Gordon’s goal in the second meeting last season put an end to Chivas USA’s scoreless streak vs. LA at 450 minutes, dating back to Aug. 14, 2008.
• Gordon is one of eight players who have played on both sides of the rivalry, a list expanded this year by the move of Tristan Bowen across The Home Depot Center: Tristan Bowen (LA 2009-10; CHV 2011); Alecko Eskandarian (CHV 2008-09; LA 2009); Alan Gordon (LA 2004-10; CHV 2010-11); Ante Jazic (LA 2006-08; CHV 2009-11); Mike Munoz (CHV 2005; LA 2008); Paulo Nagamura (LA 2005-06; CHV 2007-11); Marcelo Saragosa (LA 2004-06; CHV 2009-10); Michael Umana (LA 2005; CHV 2010)
• Landon Donovan has nine goals and eight assists in 17 games all-time (league and MLS Cup) vs. Chivas USA.
• Coaches record: Bruce Arena vs. CHV: P7 W4 L2 D1 … Robin Fraser v LA: first game
Chivas USA returned to their winning form in impressive fashion, coming away from Red Bull Arena with a 3-2 victory against the New York Red Bulls on Sunday evening. Chivas USA have 12 points from 9 games on the season, sitting in seventh place in the Western Conference.
CHIVAS USA - LAST MATCH
• After a power outage delayed kickoff, Chivas USA's Justin Braun got the match off to a flying start after five minutes. Taking a pass from Nick LaBrocca on the left, he cut across the penalty area and curled a right-footed shot into the back of the net.
• The Red Bulls responded in the 21st minute. Defender Rafa Márquez looped a long ball over the top to Thierry Henry, who took two touches and coolly slotted a right-footed shot past Chivas USA goalkeeper Dan Kennedy.
• But Chivas, and Braun, restored their lead shortly afterward. Heath Pearce floated a free kick beyond the far post in the 31st minute, but Ante Jazic got in a touch to keep the ball in play and found Braun, who squeezed the ball between New York goalkeeper Bouna Coundoul’s legs.
• New York again answered quickly, this time when Luke Rodgers was tugged to the ground by Pearce while making a run in the box, and Dwayne De Rosario thumped the resulting penalty kick into the back of the net in the 35th minute.
• Yet Braun and Chivas had one final answer. In the 56th minute, Simon Elliott sent a free kick towards the top of the six-yard box, and an unmarked Alejandro Moreno snapped a header off the post. It bounced directly to Braun, who tapped home the rebound to complete his hat trick.
• Chivas USA head coach Robin Fraser made two changes to the team that fell 1-0 to Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium. Michael Lahoud and Justin Braun came in for the suspended Andrew Boyens and Marcos Mondaini.
• CHIVAS USA (4-1-3-2): Dan Kennedy - Michael Lahoud (Mariano Trujillo 30), Heath Pearce, Zarek Valentin, Ante Jazic - Simon Elliott - Ben Zemanski, Nick LaBrocca, Jorge Flores (Francisco Mendoza 84) - Justin Braun (Chris Cortez 69), Alejandro Moreno.
CHIVAS USA - TEAM NEWS
• For Justin Braun, it was his first career hat trick and the first in Chivas USA club history. “I’ve been struggling a bit,” Braun said. “I just wanted to show I belong in the starting 11. Just prove my worth and keep getting more and more playing time.”
• Braun was inserted into the lineup in place of the suspended Marcos Mondaini, who will be unavailable for three more matches.
• “The guy scores three goals, what are you gonna do, right?” Fraser said. “He’s had a late start to his year. He had a lot of injuries in preseason, but he’s certainly come on in games and done well. Tonight was certainly his coming out party.”
• Braun had started the first four games of the season, but not since April 9 vs. Columbus. While he has figured as a wide midfielder in past seasons, Fraser has said he looks at him as an out-and-out striker.
• “I thought all night long he was just a real presence on the attacking end of the field. He ran a lot of things down; he was obviously very efficient in front of the goal,” Fraser said. “I think for him it’s great. It’s good for him, for his confidence. … You have a performance like that, you certainly make a statement for yourself. ”
• The win was the third in four games for Chivas USA, who have scored eight goals over that span, after scoring just three goals in their opening five of the season (and going without a goal for 313 minutes, second-longest streak in MLS this season.
• “I thought we didn’t play great (against New York), but we still found ways to get the ball into the net, we still found ways to defend that lead,” Fraser said. “I think for a young group that is growing and in the building process, I think a result like this, with this kind of effort, further confirms everything that we’re trying to do.”
• Forward Chris Cortez, who was officially signed to a first-team contract just before the team’s trip to New York, made his MLS debut, coming on for Braun in the 69th minute. A former member of the Chivas USA Under-18 team, Cortez has scored four goals in four reserve matches.
• “I was very happy for him to get his first minutes,” Braun said. “I know it was a huge moment for any player and it made me remember the first time that I stepped on the field. He gave us what we needed to help preserve the win. He’s done well with the reserves and now he’s got his opportunity.”
• The win was also the second away from home for Chivas USA, and they’ve taken eight points from five away matches. Just three other teams have two road wins this season: LA Galaxy, Colorado and Real Salt Lake.
• “A lot of people haven’t been talking about [Chivas USA], which we don’t mind at all. But to come in and beat one of the so-called best teams in the league at their place is big, and I think people will start talking about us now,” Braun said.
The LA Galaxy returned home and won again in impressive fashion, rolling over Sporting Kansas City 4-1 at The Home Depot Center. The Galaxy have 20 points from 12 games on the season, leading the Western Conference.
LA GALAXY - LAST MATCH
• Sporting KC took the lead courtesy of a gift, when Milos Stojcev swung a ball in from the right flank and Galaxy defender Omar Gonzalez was able only to re-direct it into the corner of his own net.
• The Galaxy hit for the equalizer before the end of the half. After David Beckham taken down inside the box, referee Baldomero Toledo immediately pointed to the spot, and Landon Donovan calmly buried the penalty kick.
• LA broke the game open in the second half. First, Donovan and Chad Barrett combined on a give-and-go into the penalty area from where Donovan beat helpless goalkeeper Eric Kronberg.
• Then Juan Pablo Ángel found the back of the net shortly after coming on as a substitute. Barrett sent Ángel through and he easily slotted home from inside the area.
• Beckham then put an exclamation mark on the match when he buried a direct free kick from outside the left corner of the penalty area.
• Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena made four changes to the team that reached a 1-1 result with Philadelphia Union at PPL Park. Josh Saunders came in between the posts for Donovan Ricketts, David Beckham and Mike Magee returned to the midfield for Chris Birchall and Michael Stephens, and Chad Barrett started up top for Juan Pablo Ángel.
• LA GALAXY (4-1-3-2): Josh Saunders - Sean Franklin, Omar Gonzalez, A.J. DeLaGarza, Todd Dunivant - Juninho (Michael Stephens 85) - Landon Donovan, David Beckham, Mike Magee - Chad Barrett (Chris Birchall 81), Miguel Lopez (Juan Pablo Angel 61).
LA GALAXY - TEAM NEWS
• Landon Donovan took over the lead for the MLS Golden Boot with two goals vs. Sporting KC, giving him seven on the season – all in the last five games (since April 23).
• "It's a long season," Donovan said. "If I have seven at the end of the year, it won't matter. At this point in my career, I'm not motivated solely by scoring. I'm motivated by winning."
• Donovan also moved into fourth on the MLS all-time goalscorers list with 110 in his career, passing Real Salt Lake coach Jason Kreis. Next on the list is Ante Razov, who had 114 for his MLS career – and Donovan is just 22 goals behind current all-time leader Jaime Moreno.
• "Landon's doing a great job," said Arena. "He does whatever we need to be better as a team and need to be successful on the night. He's a terrific player."
• Along with Donovan, Juan Pablo Ángel scored his first goal since March 26. “This is a marathon, not a sprint,” Ángel said. “I wish I could have gotten off to a better start in the first eight to 10 games, but I wasn’t concerned at all. It takes a little bit of time to adjust, for people to get to know you, for you to get the rhythm going and it’s a long season.”
• David Beckham scored his first of the season and his 10th league goal in five MLS season. For Beckham, it was his third goal directly from a free kick in MLS play (also scoring one vs. Chivas last year); he also scored a goal in SuperLiga directly from a free kick.
• "I caught it well," Beckham said. "I just know if I put it in the right area with enough pace, it's always going to be difficult to stop."
• It was the first time in MLS history three Designated Players all scored in the same game. Seven times previously two DPs had scored in the same contest, including earlier this year when Donovan and Thierry Henry scored in the LA-New York match May 7.
• The Galaxy were forced into a late change when Josh Saunders had to come in between the posts for Donovan Ricketts, who was ill.
• “We come in [Saturday] and our goalkeeper — who we think is the best goalie in the league — can’t go and we have a guy waiting to step in that, when Bruce tells us he has to play, nobody bats an eye,” Donovan said. “Josh has been great for the last few years.”
• Omar Gonzalez was suffering from stomach issues and had to receive an IV before the match, but was still able to play. Unfortunately, he turned the KC opener into his own goal.
• “It was a bit unlucky," Gonzalez said, "but I wasn’t too worried about it because we were dominating the game and I knew that we were going to get our chances, and we did. I just forgot about it right away.”
• The Galaxy have won the SuperClásico series in five of the six years it’s been contested.
• “We see them every day and speak to a couple of their players, and from what (Chivas defender Ante) Jazic said to me is they’re feeling more of a team every weekend,” said Chris Birchall. “That’s good. We want to play any team when they’re at their best. At the moment Chivas is playing really well and it should be a great game and hopefully a lot of fans will turn out.”