There’s something special about the SuperClásico. It could be the extra-packed Home Depot Center or the fact that both Chivas USA and the LA Galaxy call Los Angeles home.
There’s always electricity in the air.
“Emotions are always at one hundred percent in these SuperClásicos,” said Chivas USA defender Mariano Trujillo after practice on Wednesday. “We don’t want to lose Thursday night. We don’t like to lose any game, but especially not against the Galaxy. We want to get our first three points and get a victory for the Chivas USA fans.”
Chivas USA has plenty of reasons to come out firing against their in-stadium rivals on Thursday evening. The Red-and-White went a dismal 0-2-1 against LA last year, and were ousted from the postseason by a 3-2 aggregate score against the Galaxy.
“Even with the new players this year, we all know the rivalry and we know the bad blood,” said Michael Lahoud. “Regardless of when you play Galaxy, there’s always going to be lots of tension and emotion. And the playoff storyline from last year makes for an even greater game.”
The Galaxy have enjoyed success against Chivas USA in the past, boasting a 10-3-2 record against the Red-and-White since 2005. But with a younger roster and a new coach, the Goats are feeling strong ahead of Thursday’s match.
“We’re feeling very confident,” said Lahoud. “It’s always different to feel that way after the last result we had, which was a disappointing one, but there’s just something about our team and the enthusiasm that we’ve all felt for the past couple of days.”
Key to Chivas USA’s success against LA will be containing Landon Donovan. The American international has just returned from a successful stint with English side Everton, and is bristling with confidence.
“They have some dangerous players,” said Trujillo. Guys like Donovan are players that can hurt you if you aren’t paying attention. But if we can possess the ball and maintain good offense, we won’t have to worry about defending them so much.”
Veteran Brazilian stalwart Marcelo Saragosa will likely be assigned to containing Donovan. It’s no easy task, but Saragosa knows the job well and should have no problem hassling the 2009 MLS MVP. His experience playing with the Galaxy during from 2004-2006 doesn’t hurt either.
“Donovan is a great player,” said Saragosa. “We have to close him down and not give him too much space. But he’s not the only one we have to worry about. They have a strong team with other players that can hurt you.”
As one of only two Western Conference teams not to secure any points on MLS opening weekend, Chivas USA will have extra reason to fight for a victory on Thursday.
“We’re thinking about winning,” said Trujillo. “We have to stay focused and play within our system. If we can do that, then there’s no doubt that we’ll get a win tomorrow.”