Keep An Eye On: LA Galaxy vs. Chivas

This Sunday the LA Galaxy prepares for the second installment of the SuperClasico matches with Chivas USA. The Goats will act as the visitors at the Stub Hub Center. After a brutal 3-0 loss to the Philadelphia Union last weekend, this Chivas squad will be trying to get a groove they haven’t had all season against their intense rival.

The LA Galaxy now has a three game unbeaten streak and is 6th place in the Western Conference with 16 points from 11 games. The Galaxy have only lost a single home game and with the return of a powered up Landon Donovan since his release from the U.S. national team, it doesn’t seem like the Galaxy are giving up easily. Donovan scored the equalizer against the Chicago Fire in the Galaxy’s last game. Since the U.S. national team snub, Donovan has scored three goals in two games amounting to a record breaking 137 regular season goals.

I feel great. I feel great helping the team. To get a tie on a day where we didn’t really play well and sometimes during the season you have to games where you don’t do well and you have to find a way to get something out of it. I’m glad to help out.
—Landon Donovan

Even with the point the Galaxy snagged from the scorching Chicago game, they are still winless away from the Stub Hub Center at 0-2-4. This isn’t comforting for the Goats, however, as they’re coming off back-to-back losses against Philadelphia and Portland. Chivas are the visiting team in Sunday’s game and Chivas head coach Wilmer Cabrera said:

It’s becoming difficult mentally for all of us to try to even tie at home […] The positive thing is that we are going to play away against the LA Galaxy, so we are going to be visitors and that’s a positive thing that is coming right now.
—Wilmer Cabrera, head coach, Chivas USA

Robbie Keane will be out on international duty with the Republic of Ireland, and it’s very possible that we’ll see Samuel step in for the Irish forward. This might change the dynamic a little, as the Brazilian player has just one goal in the season says he’s getting a feel for the MLS game. “I definitely feel better. I feel stronger. When I arrived, I didn’t feel I had as much strength and force.” said Samuel. Bruce Arena has other options though. Gyasi Zardes could easily take Keane’s place and Rob Friend is also a possbility, though he’s feeling under the weather after catching a virus, of which he said, “I’m feeling good this week, so hopefully I can get a good run of training this week and just get stronger.” Still, Samuel seems the most likely choice as Arena said this of the 23-year old striker:

He’s just become a better soccer player. Over the last month, we’ve seen great improvement, and there’s certainly going to be opportunity for him to play as we get into the second half of the season.
—Bruce Arena

So, what can we expect to see this Sunday? A fair game but it seems Chivas USA will have their work cut out for them, especially with Carlos Bocanegra out due to injury. The Galaxy can’t be relaxed with their stadium rivals though. The good news is that the Galaxy appears to be waking to the fact that they need to be in better form. Hopefully we see Donovan do his thing and the defense is alert. 2014 may be the end of the rivalry between Chivas USA as we know them and the Galaxy as their imminent rebranding and possible relocation approaches, so it will be important for the Galaxy to make a statement with another dominant win.