Categorized | Also Noted

Season’s last SuperClasico packed with meaning

Posted on 29 August 2009 by iyeo

Not since last season has the Honda Superclasico meant so much in the Western Conference standings than what will take place at the Home Depot Center on Saturday night.

The Los Angeles Galaxy and Chivas USA head into Saturday’s LA Derby as the second and third place teams respectively in the West. Even more important, Chivas is only two points behind the Galaxy, making Saturday’s third and final installment of the 2009 Superclasico perhaps the biggest it has ever been in the four-year history of the in-stadium rivalry.

After losing at home to Seattle Sounders FC 2-0 two weeks ago, the Galaxy rebounded with a 2-0 win against the host Chicago Fire on August 19 despite the absence of midfielders David Beckham and Eddie Lewis, both of whom were serving red-card suspensions. Both came back for the Galaxy’s match against DC United three days later, and the two teams played to a scoreless draw.

The four points earned last week enabled the Galaxy to remain in second place in the conference with a record of 8-4-11 and 35 points. Chivas meanwhile is 10-8-3 and its 33 points leave them tied with the Sounders for third in the conference.

After going nearly a month without a win, Chivas started turning things around with a pair of wins against the New York Rd Bulls and Toronto FC respectively the last two weeks. Chivas however missed out on an opportunity to overtake the Galaxy earlier this week when it lost to Real Salt Lake 4-0. The team’s fate that night was sealed when keeper Zach Thornton suffered a quad strain in the match and his status for tonight’s match is in doubt.

Despite the lop-sided defeat, Chivas is still a factor in the MLS playoff chase. Its resurgence has been buoyed by two acquisitions. Forward Jesus Padilla is on loan from parent club Chivas Guadalajara as is another forward, Brazilian Maicon Santos, from Israeli club Ironi Kiryat Shimona. Another player who has been loaned out to Chivas USA is Colombian defender Yamith Cuesta, who last played with Colombian club Expreso Rojo. Cuesta is expected to be available for Chivas on Saturday night.

The Galaxy currently hold the advantage in the Honda Superclasico. After the two teams played to a scoreless draw in its first matchup back on April 11, the Galaxy seized the advantage two months later with a 1-0 win over Chivas. The Galaxy’s goal came courtesy of Edson Buddle in the 30th minute. Buddle is listed as questionable for Saturday’s match as he has missed a month with a sprained foot.

This will not be the first time the two teams met with big implications in the standings. Last year on July 10, the Galaxy and Chivas were tied for first place heading into that match. The two teams played to a 1-1 draw that night. Ante Razov opened up the scoring in the 15th minute, the Galaxy equalized on and Edson Buddle strike in the 72md minute, and Los Angeles had one last chance to steal the win in stoppage time, but Brad Guzan, playing in what was his last match before being sold to English club Aston Villa, denied Carlos Ruiz with a kick save in the box.

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