Yes, I called it the "LA Classic" and no, it's not really one. We all know how much ground Chivas have to make up before this match can be called a classic. Still, "LA Classic" and "Clásico Angelino" have a better ring than "SuperClásico." The latter sounds, obviously, too contrived.
Chivas USA will attempt to tie the season series at 1-1-1. This year's opening clásico showed a feisty 10-man Chivas squad denying the others 3 points after Carlos Borja and Carlos Alvarez combined to leave things knotted at 1. That match, only the 3rd match of the season, showed a promising Chivas team that in the face of all odds, including biased refereeing, battled to deny the opponent points.
Some things changed while others didn't for Chivas this season. The good form we started off with fell out from underneath us. One thing didn't change from the first match with the others this season and that was the additional factor of biased refereeing. The rest of the season was a never-ending uphill battle. One other thing didn't change and that was the battling and the tenacity of the squad after Jose Luis Real took the reigns. In spite of everything, Chivas managed to forge a strong core that kept them in games.
A strong defensive foundation was set and a glimmer of offensive hope was brought in with Erick Torres. Others turned out to be revelations like Bryan de la Fuente who contributed with goal scoring, matching in a shorter amount of time what the next-best Chivas goal scorers could do all season.
Chivas adjusted and began to defend well as a unit but other flaws or weaknesses were exposed. The Chivas midfield doesn't have a playmaker the likes of a Federico Higuain or a Graham Zusi, a general and orchestrator in the midfield than can generate offense. Oswaldo Minda and Edgar Mejia are defensive anchors and aren't expected to be much else. Generating offense is left mainly up to de la Fuente, Carlos Alvarez and Eric Avila. Here's to hoping that our rookie Alvarez can grow exponentially in quality next season. But that seasoning a-la Higuaín will take years to polish. Here's a thought: How would a crafty type like Avila fare in central midfield?
Chivas gets a chance to overcome an important rival in the Galaxy this Sunday, but no rival is as great for Chivas as themselves. Better decision-making and selflessness from strikers is key.
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