CARSON, Calif. – Following offseason changes in coaching and ownership, Chivas USA have repeatedly talked about the club's new direction and how this transitional year could produce different on-field results.
On Sunday against the loval rivals LA Galaxy, the Rojiblancos have the best opportunity yet to back up that chatter.
The Goats have beaten the Galaxy only once since 2007 and just four times in 28 all-time regular-season meetings, so they know they can gain some credibility, as well as a confidence boost, with a victory as the designated home side Sunday.
- RIVALRY WEEK: Chivas USA vs. LA Galaxy, Sun., 3 pm ET, on UniMas
“This game always means a lot to our fans, our staff, our front office and definitely the players,” goalkeeper Dan Kennedy told MLSsoccer.com. “It’s a fun game to be a part of and a fun game to prepare for. We should be proud of the work we’ve put in so far this season, but we have to make sure we come fully prepared Sunday for what the Galaxy have to offer.”
Save for a Chivas USA win in May of 2012, the series has been one-sided since the start of the 2008 campaign, with LA compiling an 11-1-4 record in that span. The Rojiblancos have been shut out in nine of the last 16 SuperClásico matchups, including the previous two.
Second-year forward Erick “Cubo” Torres, who has scored in all four games this season and is tied for the league lead in goals, will look to keep his streak alive.
“Mentally, we know it’s a different week,” Torres told reporters. “This is a match we have to win in any manner.
“This is a game that needs to be played with a knife in between your teeth. We have to play to win every ball and we’ve got to come out with the mentality to get three points, but also win some pride.”
LA held Torres to one shot attempt in 90 minutes last October in a 5-0 drubbing. The sides drew in their first meeting last season when then-rookie midfielder Carlos Alvarez scored a dramatic goal for the Rojiblancos in the waning moments, and the Galaxy earned a 1-0 win in June.
Recent history might not be on Chivas USA’s side, but first-year head coach Wilmer Cabrera knows his squad is revved up to change it. Still, he downplayed the significance of the game.
“Every game is important for us; every game is a final,” Cabrera told reporters ahead of his first SuperClásico. “The fact that it’s the LA Galaxy, it’s not going to change anything for us.”
Yet, players admitted that a win Sunday would serve as physical proof that revamped Chivas USA could indeed be headed toward the change that has been discussed ad nauseam.
“We want to prove we’re better than the Galaxy,” rookie midfielder Thomas McNamara told reporters. “This is a chance for us to prove it and get bragging rights in the city.”