CARSON, Calif. – Major League Soccer's only intra-city derby might be a better rivalry if it weren't so drastically one-sided. The LA Galaxy have lost only four times in 32 competitive matches all-time against Chivas USA, and just one since the Goats' back-to-back 3-0 romps in 2007.
Since Bruce Arena took charge of the Galaxy in August 2009, the Galaxy are 12-1-3 against their cross-stadium rival, outscoring Chivas 29-5 and posting a dozen shutouts. They're 5-0-1 in the series since the Goats' last victory, in May 2012, and have rolled to an 8-0 score line in the last two meetings.
The second SuperClasico of this season is slated for Sunday evening at StubHub Center (8 pm ET; Univision Deportes), and it's a game the Galaxy expect to win, right?
"No, it's actually quite the opposite," Landon Donovan said following LA's training session Friday morning. "We think that, and it's been proven, maybe with the exception of the last game we played, that we get their best game of the year. We know they've struggled. We're not living under a rock, we know they've struggled of late, but they've also had some good performances along the way. And we know when they put it together, they can put together a good performance.
"They didn't do it against Philly [in a 3-0 loss last weekend], they didn't do it last time they played us [a 3-0 Galaxy win on April 6], but they're capable of it. So I think we think actually pretty opposite of [expecting to win]."
Most of the games in the series – the Galaxy's lead is 21-4-7 in all games and 19-4-6 in MLS regular-season fare – have been close. In a dozen successive meetings from July 2008 through Chivas' 2012 triumph, the teams finished even or within a goal on all but one occasion.
Head coach Bruce Arena, who will be without forward Robbie Keane while he’s with Ireland's national team in addition to World Cup-bound backline leader Omar Gonzalez, said the expectation is victory, and that's the norm.
"We expect to win every game," he said. "Why would you step on the field if you don't expect to win? I think Chivas expects to win. ... We expect to win, they expect to win. Tomorrow, all those other games in MLS, all those teams expect to win. They do, whether you believe it or not. You shouldn't show up and play then [if you don't expect to win]."
- Get the latest Galaxy news at LAGalaxy.com
Defender A.J. DeLaGarza's take is different.
"I don't think you can expect to win any game in this league. That's just how close everyone is, I guess, top to bottom," he said. "I don't even know who's the last-place team in the league."
For the record, it's Chivas USA (2-7-4). They've won just once in 12 games since an opening-day victory over Chicago.
"You can't take anything for granted, and definitely not against these guys," DeLaGarza said. "We don't come out here thinking we're bigger or better or anything like that. We have to come out here and grind, because we know they're going to be a physical and organized group."
Why has the Galaxy so dominated the Clasico?
"For that fact that we take it pretty serious," DeLaGarza said. "We don't take them as a weakling, even if they are in last place. We know every team we play, they're going to give us their best shot. They want to come in here and beat us.”