Los Angeles Galaxy vs. Chivas USA: 10 Bold Predictions
Before the Los Angeles Galaxy get run over by the likes of Tottenham Hotspur next week at the Home Depot Center, there is the matter of a match that is more important, and less difficult.
Note that I say this because Chivas USA are no Spurs. But you wouldn't think of that as the case in the last meeting between the Goats and the G's, in which the designated home side (that is, Chivas) outplayed LA and made the Galaxy look like the Blues, who are no Spurs, either. Heck, they aren't even close to the caliber of the Tottenham youth team! How about that!
The Galaxy cannot overlook Chivas USA. With a record of 6-7-5 (23 points), the Goats currently have three games in hand over their cross-locker rivals, while Los Angeles are barely hanging on to the fifth spot at 8-10-3 (27 points).
A loss here from Los Angeles, and it can be said that this is indeed a down year for the Galaxy, if it isn't already. They can salvage matters on Saturday and turn this into a warm-up for the dog-and-pony show to follow.
Here are 10 bold predictions for the second leg of the 2012 Honda SuperClasico.
1. Galaxy Manhandled in the Stats Department Again
For Chivas USA, things can't get any worse for them, so the object for Robin Fraser's Goats over Bruce Arena's Galaxy is to play loose and easy. That means Chivas must secure better ball possession, a higher passing accuracy percentage, win the ball more and test porous goalkeeper Josh Saunders.
I am boldly predicting that Chivas will do just that. Here is the silver lining for LA, and this has been a recurring theme this year for them: Stat domination does not equate to a win for the most part, as we will see in the next nine predictions.
2. Los Angeles Score First
The Galaxy need to see this game as a bit of a tune-up for the Tottenham friendly. So it is important that Los Angeles strike first to establish the tempo for the rest of the match.
Robbie Keane leads the club in goals with eight this season and will aim to make it nine on Saturday. Watch for the Irishman to get on the scoresheet within the first 20 minutes.
3. A Goal and an Assist for David Beckham
Well, David Beckham has been on the scoresheet for the past few matches, and getting on it on Saturday against Chivas USA is simply par for the course. After all, David Beckham is David Beckham...end of story.
So, Becks will get a goal and an assist to help his club. On the flip side, he won't be getting any assists off set pieces.
4. Under Six Saves for Josh Saunders
When the Los Angeles Galaxy backline puts it all together, it takes a lot of pressure off goalkeeper Josh Saunders. With Todd Dunivant potentially sidelined this match, Bryan Gaul could step up and fill on at right back.
If Omar Gonzalez, by a miracle, is healthy enough to start this match, it's going to make this bold prediction that much more compelling. Saunders will need to make no more than five saves against Chivas USA.
5. Jose Villareal Scores Late for Los Angeles
Jose Villareal is a homegrown player with a huge upside. Against the Vancouver Whitecaps this past week, he scored an equalizer that broke Canadian hearts in search of a rare sweep over their American MLS competition.
While the San Jose Earthquakes have their late-match scoring talisman in Alan Gordon, the Galaxy have their own counterpart in Villareal. Yes way, Jose gets it done on Saturday.
Galaxy fans, hope and pray.
6. Jose Correa Does It Again for Chivas
Jose Correa was the reason Chivas USA won their first match of this three-game series, and he will score again.
Let me tell you, Correa is the unsung hero of this season for the Goats. If there is one player that knows how to deliver, it's gotta be Correa. The man can finish, and he will be on the scoresheet.
7. Hello Again, Juan Pablo Angel
Juan Pablo Angel has to be lucky that he is still playing the game. He's like David Beckham in some ways—played in the Premier League, scored a lot of goals during his career, played for the Galaxy...and currently Angel leads the team in goals scored with three.
Look for Angel to get on the scoresheet in the second half and make things interesting in the second leg of the SuperClasico.
8. A Penalty Will Be Called
It wouldn't be a SuperClasico match without at least one penalty called. Someone is going to foul the box, and the spot kick will be converted.
Unfortunately for Chivas, I am boldly predicting that they will be ones who commit this. Enter Landon Donovan to record his eighth goal of the season.
9. Over 20 Fouls and Three Yellows
It's a rivalry match. A lot of bad blood is harbored between these two teams, so it's very important that the physical play makes the match a challenge for the referee to manage.
In the event that he does, I am calling for over 20 fouls and three yellow cards called between both sides.
That's a SuperClasico match for you.
10. Los Angeles Wins Ugly, and Ugly Is Good
This is going to be a great game, and I am going to boldly predict for the same scoreline because I was a bit naive when considering the strength of the Vancouver Whitecaps, who are comparable to LA in a lot of ways.
Here, against Chivas, that 1-0 loss has left a bad taste in their mouths and they will look to wash it away on Saturday. And they have to, or this SuperClasico is going to go to the Goats for the first time since 2007.
Los Angeles Galaxy - 4
Chivas USA - 2