As the MLS season approaches, MLSsoccer.com marks each passing day with a different statistic, observation or talking point, setting the stage for March 2.
25 – Number of times the SuperClasico and the Rocky Mountain Cup have been played
This year, MLS has made a concerted effort to highlight the rivalries in the league. The third week of the season features a full slate of local and traditional grudge matches, and the league is dubbing the event Rivalry Week.
Two of the biggest matches that weekend are the SuperClasico between the LA Galaxy and Chivas USA on March 17, and the Rocky Mountain Cup between Real Salt Lake and the Colorado Rapids on March 16. These two derbies, if you will, reached a milestone in 2012, as they were played for the 25th time ever.
That raised a question for us: Which is the bigger rivalry?
The SuperClasico hasn’t been all that super in recent years. The Galaxy have dominated their cross-stadium rivals, posting eight wins, one loss, and one draw in the regular season since the start of 2009. Overall, since Chivas joined the league in 2005, the Galaxy have a 16-4-5 record against the Goats.
But, as the league's only intra-city matchup, it is the only true "derby" in MLS. And 2013 is a new year in SoCal. The Galaxy lost David Beckham, and Landon Donovan is taking some time off. No word when he’ll be back or if he’ll be available for that March 17 SuperClasico at the Home Depot Center. And who knows how Chivas USA’s entertaining new manager, José Luis Sánchez Solá, a.k.a. "Chelís," might shake things up.
Out in the Rockies, things have been a little more even, which has lent the rivalry a little nastiness over the years. Who can forget the Beckerman-Mastroeni midfield battles (and extracurriculars)? What about RSL's last-gasp goals to preserve draws or even wins?
Statistically, RSL boast the advantage. In fact, since Jason Kreis took over as coach in Salt Lake in May 2007, RSL have not lost a season series to their Mile High rivals, posting seven wins, four losses, and six draws.
But the Rapids dominated the early going of the rivalry, so overall, things are incredibly even: 9-9-7.
This season is kind of up in the air. The Rapids have revamped, jettisoning Conor Casey, trading away Omar Cummings, and bringing in such attack-minded players as Edson Buddle, Atiba Harris, Nick LaBrocca, and Chilean Kevin Harbottle.
RSL, too, made changes this offseason, shipping mainstays Jámison Olave and Fabián Espíndola to New York, and acquiring Robbie Findley and Joao Plata.
So what's the answer to the question? Guess we'll find out this year.
Which do you think is a bigger rivalry, the SuperClasico or the Rocky Mountain Cup? Let us know in the comments below.