I had set out to write some of my column on the Chivas USA-Galaxy match and how the luster was off from this game. Then, I scrapped it and decided to write an all-Olympics column. I filed it, and then the Galaxy story about Ruud Gullit and Alexi Lalas broke.
We're still going with the Olympics stuff for tomorrow but when I follow up on the Galaxy and the Super Clasico later in the week, it will be with today's news in mind.
That being said, I have no use for what I wrote on the game earlier. So instead of zapping it, I'll put it here so the effort won't have been a complete exercise in futility.
Now, I was going to develop this a bit further on Thursday and talk about how this game could make or break one or both of the teams' seasons. Of course, that's not happening now. There's a connnection between the Galaxy, Chivas USA, jobs lost and the Super Clasico. Steve Sampson, Thomas Rongen, Ruud Gullit and Alexi Lalas all were fired or quit before a Super Clasico. There might be more names to add to that list in terms of players and such, but that's just off the top of my head.
Anyway, here's the aborted column, which actually stands on its own as a topic, just not the most timely one:
The Galaxy-Chivas USA rivalry dates back four years now. And while the two teams have yet to meet in a league playoff match, Thursday’s Clasico might be the closest they have come to date.
That’s not exactly a good thing.
Bad defenses, slumping offenses and little prospects of a championship have taken the Super out of the Super Clasico. Neither Chivas USA nor the Galaxy are anywhere near the playoffs entering Thursday’s contest.
Sure, both clubs sit just a few points out of third place in the Western Conference and a win by either side could do a lot to get the momentum back on their respective side. But the last time Chivas and the Galaxy played, it was a battle for first place.
Just one month ago, the clubs met for Western supremacy. Now, Real Salt Lake, Houston and FC Dallas have surpassed the teams. The revamped San Jose Earthquakes are within striking distance of the local teams and in fact may be the best team in California at the moment.
Although it’s a rivalry match and the two teams will try in earnest to throw their records out the window, it will be difficult to mask their respective shortcomings. For the Galaxy, it’s the league’s worst defense that has been thus far overshadowed the offense as the defense has yielded 40 goals in 19 games. Even the offense hasn’t been itself lately. In the last six games, the Galaxy has scored seven goals. In the six games before that, the Galaxy scored 17 goals. Not coincidentally, the Galaxy is 0-4-2 in the most recent stretch.
Chivas, meanwhile, can’t seem to get a healthy squad together. Just when Maykel Galindo and Alecko Eskandarian return, Ante Razov goes down with injury. Then Galindo and Eskandarian, who each played in a 1-0 loss to Chicago on Aug. 2, missed out Saturday’s 3-2 loss at Kansas City. An inconsistent lineup has led to inconsistent results all season long.
The Western Conference champions were also dealt a cruel blow when MLS and the club agreed to transfer Brad Guzan to English club Aston Villa. Although the club had all season to prepare for the move – Guzan was after all nearly property of Aston Villa in January – a replacement goalkeeper was not brought in until Chivas’ first official match without Guzan. Zach Thornton joined the club via trade on Aug. 1 and has started the last two games with his new club. Not surprisingly, he has struggled to gain his footing and has lost both games.
So while the teams prepare for a Clasico that probably won't be Super, at least contention for a playoff spot may be on the line. Thus, the game won't be a complete waste of time.