CARSON, Calif. – Although the LA Galaxy had already won the Supporters’ Shield and no playoff berths were at stake, the club still wanted to retain the all-important bragging rights over Chivas USA when the in-house rivals met in the latest edition of the SuperClasico on Sunday.
And thanks to a 1-0 win, the Galaxy – who won the season series between the two for the sixth time in seven years – can hold their victory over Chivas USA’s heads.
“We’ve made [the Home Depot Center] our fortress and against Chivas, it means everything,” Galaxy defender Todd Dunivant said. “We pride ourselves on that Clasico game and showing that this is our stadium.”
Because of the result, the Galaxy finished the regular season unbeaten at home. With a 12-0-5 regular-season record – and a 3-0-0 mark in Champions League to boot – and only nine goals allowed, LA made the Home Depot Center the Fort Knox of MLS.
It was the first time in club history that they kept their home record intact.
“It’s nice,” Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena said. “I don’t really pay attention to those kinds of things. It’s certainly important. It was obviously the most important factor probably in winning the Supporters’ Shield. If you generate that many points at home and get a fair amount on the road, it’s a simple formula that adds up to being on top in the end.”
The Galaxy’s match Sunday followed the same pattern as many of the previous SuperClasicos. Chivas USA had a few looks on goal, but nothing too dangerous, while the Galaxy capitalized on a chance and clamped down defensively to seal the victory.
In fact, the script was nearly the same as the clubs’ first meeting of 2011, when Barrett accounted for the lone goal in a Galaxy 1-0 win in May. Only the names changed a bit as Juan Pablo Ángel – then dressed in an LA kit – donned a Chivas USA uniform on Sunday, while Landon Donovan played no role in the result.
One thing also changed from last time: the man behind the assist. Adam Cristman, rather than David Beckham, was responsible for a cross the cross that found Barrett unmarked in front of the goal on a quick counter in the 53rd minute.
“[Chivas USA ‘keeper Dan] Kennedy made some good saves, [I] got unlucky the first half,” Barrett said. “I wasn’t beating myself up. I was getting chances, putting myself in good spots, and I knew if I kept doing that, I was going to score.”
WATCH: Barrett scores the second-half winner
That Barrett was able to finish showed a bit of resiliency on his part.
“The goal was big for him. He certainly had a couple of chances in the first half,” Arena said. “Good to see him come back determined in the second half. Obviously a big goal and it should be a big boost to his confidence.”
While Sunday’s match was for bragging rights, a crucial CONCACAF Champions League match awaits LA. Thursday’s game in Honduras is one of the biggest this year for the club: A win over a hapless Motagua side would send the Galaxy into the Champions League quarterfinals.
Still, before playing Motagua, the Galaxy wanted to take care of their rivals.
“It always means something against Chivas,” Barrett said. “It’s a big thing. It’s a big thing to them, so we came in here, we weren’t lackadaisical. There’s still a record we could break with the points. There were tons of things to play for.”