I’ve only been attending LA Galaxy games for three years, so forgive me if this is way off base: in my experience, the so-called SuperClasico has been anything but. When supposed inter-town rivals Chivas USA and LA Galaxy square off, the games tend to be a bit one-sided.
What I’m trying to say is: Chivas USA get their asses kicked. Repeatedly. And I’m not sure how that’s either “super” or “classic,” much less both.
This year Chivas’ attack all comes down to one name: Erick Torres. The striker is on a tear, leading his team in every meaningful stat. With 26 shots on goal, 75 shots total, and 14 goals to his name, Torres is capable of both miracles and beautiful, populist celebrations. Number 9 is the number to watch.
But Galaxy fans would do just as well to keep an eye on their own team. LA’s season has been a rollercoaster, with performances equally entertaining and inconsistent. As the Western Conference heavyweights jockey for position in an incredibly tight Supporters Shield race, the Galaxy can’t afford to drop any points, whatsoever — nothing but a win will do.
LA’s managed to get results despite injuries that continue to plague their lineup. But the sooner Bruce Arena’s top eleven can get back on the pitch, the better. At this late stage in the season, every chance for players to familiarize themselves with each others’ habits is invaluable.
Stefan Ishizaki, Robbie Rogers, and Robbie Keane remain question marks when it comes to injuries — but both Ishizaki and Keane have returned to training with the team and have a shot at the starting lineup. The Galaxy will be especially eager to make the most of Keane’s availability, as the captain will miss LA’s upcoming match against Colorado due to international duty for Ireland.
On Sunday this Clasico will be laid to rest. Come 2015, Chivas USA will be rebranded, part of MLS central command’s attempt at revitalizing the historically-struggling franchise. And with that rebranding, the SuperClasico will end.
Of course there will be a new rivalry, foisted upon us by the marketing muscle that is Soccer United Marketing. Of course it’s not the last inner-city showdown. But it’s still the end of something.
With any luck, it’s mediocre soccer to which we’ll bid farewell — because Angelenos of all stripes and sashes deserve better.