June 23, 2013 - Major League Soccer (MLS) - Los Angeles Galaxy
CARSON, Calif. - The LA Galaxy expect the unexpected against struggling Chivas USA.
Following the two sides'1-1 draw in the first edition of the SuperClasico back on March 17, the Rojiblancos have undergone considerable turnover both in terms of players and management. Out is former head coach Jose Luis Sanchez Sola and his attack-first mentality who was replaced by the more measured Jose Luis Real. Also gone is leading goal scorer Juan Agudelo (traded to New England) and midfielders Eric Avila and Giovani Casillas (sent to train with Guadalajara).
Since Sanchez Sola's firing, the Rojiblancos have adapted a restrained approach that emphasizes build-up play in midfield. However, the new style of play hasn't translated to results as the Rojiblancos are winless in their last nine league games and currently sit at the foot of the Western Conference with a 3-9-2 record.
Despite their poor run of form, the Galaxy expect a challenge in the SuperClasico.
"We expect their very best. We watched the Vancouver game [a 3-1 Chivas defeat] and they're a much better team than they were earlier in the year," said Landon Donovan. "This is a big game for them and they know that, and this is a big game for us. I expect that they'll be a lot different than they have been in the last few months."
And just how have Chivas become a better team, even though the results haven't changed?
"They're just organized. They're not as hectic. They look more like a real soccer team," said Donovan. "They'll start building on that and start feeling better about how they're playing and they'll be ready to play."
The Galaxy will hoping to return to form offensively in the SuperClasico after notching just a single goal in their last four games across all competitions. On Wednesday, the Galaxy attack was stymied by the organized Portland Timbers, who repeatedly snuffed out scoring opportunities, but against a defense that has conceded a league-high 29 times, the Galaxy expect to have quality chances on goal.
"Hopefully, [the attack will be] a lot better than the other night," said forward Robbie Keane. "This is the perfect game where we can go out and be positive and try to get a good result. Hopefully that will be the case."
Chivas USA may have had their struggles as of late, but don't count on LA being over confident and expecting a victory against the Western Conference bottom dwellers. They know that the always tense nature of the SuperClasico means that they'll have to earn three points.
"We're not in a place where anything is comfortable right now. We need to win games and we understand that we have to start picking up points," said Donovan. "There is no worry that we're going to overlook this game."