With the second edition of the SuperClasico nearly upon us, why don't we take a walk down memory lane? The rivalry between Chivas USA and the LA Galaxy leads to fierce feelings between fans and teams, but the results haven't been in the Goats' favor all that often, unfortunately. Still, there have been some good wins, great performances, and moments when players sealed their fate in Chivas USA lore. Let's take a look at the top three players (feel free to discuss your picks in the comments below):
1. Jesse Marsch: Prior to the victory earlier this season, Chivas had a very long streak without a win against the Galaxy, stretching back to 2007, in fact. I know, I know, you probably don't want to be reminded of that fact, but that match in 2007 had everything you want in a clasico: goals, a thumping Chivas win, a headbutt, and a memorable tackle on the face of the league that lead to a huge scrum. That win, on August 23, 2007, featured all of it, and a brace from Maykel Galindo and a goal from Panchito Mendoza gave Chivas the 3-0 win. But it was Marsch who made his mark - literally - on this match. Just before halftime, the veteran sent a message to the Galaxy, and to David Beckham, by making a tackle in the midfield that caught Beckham around his midsection and brought him to the ground.Marsch's tackle, although certainly not in the spirit of fair play, and not to be recommended to the young players out there, had two major effects. First, Beckham sprung up in anger after the foul and both teams got into a protracted scrum in the middle of the field. The first half of the match ended scoreless, and Marsch's refusal to allow Beckham free passage through the midfield was a signal to his teammates that Chivas didn't need to fear the Galaxy's stars. The second effect was much more subtle. In effect, it was perceived to be a message to Beckham from the MLS players that he needed to respect the league and players, and that he wouldn't be able to take the competition lightly. It might have been a little overboard, but Marsch got his message across and Chivas came away the winners that day. It was an example of the grit and leadership that Marsch showed so often for Chivas.
2. Paulo Nagamura: He did play for both sides in this rivalry, but he was a player who always seemed to elevate his performances against the Galaxy while with Chivas. He scored a crucial tally in a 2-2 draw August 14, 2008, which would have been a win for the Goats if not for the rare sight of Alan Gordon scoring a goal against a future team. He picked up his fair share of yellow cards, and got a memorable double yellow card on April 11, 2009, when first he brought down A.J. DeLaGarza 25 minutes in, and then got a second booking for sweeping out Landon Donovan shortly before halftime. Although the second yellow may have been a bit harsh, it is what is expected in rivalry matches, and it started a cavalcade of ejections, with two yellows in three minutes for Alan Gordon (still with the Galaxy) and an eventual red for Gregg Berhalter. Despite the 10 vs. 9 advantage for the end of the match, Chivas couldn't get a goal and that game ended 0-0.
Although he didn't contribute to many wins in the SuperClasico for the Goats (he came off the bench in the August 2007 victory), Nagamura was a player who had the combination of skill, determination, and fire who always gave his all, especially in the SuperClasico. Injuries may have caught up with him in the long term, but we'll always have the memories.
3. Jose Correa: Yeah, he's new, and he's only played one match in the SuperClasico, but when you're the guy responsible for breaking the five-year winless streak, it doesn't matter how many games you've played. And it wasn't like Correa won the game on a tap-in, either. After making a terrific shot that would have surely been a goal had it not been blocked by David Junior Lopes' arm in the May 19, 2012 match, Correa stepped up to take a penalty after Lopes was sent off. Without Juan Pablo Angel on the field, who was the first only Chivas player to take a PK for the Goats since August 2010, Correa's confidence in stepping up to the spot was heartening. Then, after making his first attempt, he had to try again because Jorge Villafana got too excited and encroached into the box. On the second penalty attempt, Correa took care of business and got the deciding goal. I believe Correa has what it takes to become a star, but even in his first game he's brought winning ways back to the SuperClasico for Chivas USA. Can he help the Goats get another win Saturday?
Check out the Top 3 SuperClasico players for the Galaxy over at LAG Confidential here!
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