CARSON, Calif. – David Beckham is certainly impressed with the Supporters’ Shield-winning San Jose Earthquakes. But as far as rivalries go, he’s still looking down the hall at The Home Depot Center.
“I’ve always looked at Chivas [USA] being our main rival, which is rightly so,” the LA Galaxy star told reporters after training on Saturday.
Beckham, of course, has been part of some of the biggest rivalries in soccer: Manchester United vs. Arsenal and Real Madrid vs. Barcelona, to name two. During his time in Major League Soccer, he’s learned about the California Clasico as well.
Sunday’s first leg of the Western Conference Semifinals (9 pm ET, ESPN, live chat on MLSsoccer.com) will mark the eighth time Beckham has suited up against the Galaxy’s Northern California rivals, but this go-around is by far the highest-stakes showdown between the two during his six years in MLS: It’s only the second time during that stretch that both teams have qualified simultaneously for the MLS Cup playoffs, and the first time they’ve met in the postseason.
And if their first three meetings during the 2012 regular season are any indication, this two-game series will likely be another physical, tight affair.
“They’re a good team, and good teams know how to win games however you do it,” Beckham said. “They’re a very dangerous team. They’ve been very physical over the games that we’ve played and also throughout their season. It’s one of the reasons why they’re in the position they are.”
But as far as the classic rivalry between them that dates back to the league’s inaugural season?
“People talk about San Jose and Galaxy rivalry, and of course it’s there.” he said. “But at the end of the day, this is just another game.”
The three-time World Cup veteran then paused, before adding, “a big one.”