With the Major League Soccer Supporters' Shield staying in the Los Angeles Galaxy front office for another year, Bruce Arena's men can think about starting some fringe players for next Sunday's Honda SuperClasico match against Chivas USA.
The Galaxy clinched the Shield thanks to the Philadelphia Union's 2-0 victory over the Seattle Sounders on Saturday night at CenturyLink Field.
However, a SuperClasico is a SuperClasico, regardless of the record between the Galaxy and Chivas. Currently, the Galaxy, who are also MLS Western Conference regular season champions, have a 18-4-10 record (64 points).
As for Chivas, who are coming off a 1-1 draw at home to the Union, they currently sport a 8-12-12 record (36 points) and were eliminated from the MLS Cup playoffs with LA's 2-0 away defeat to the New York Red Bulls.
But the main reason why this will be a game to watch this weekend is the play of Juan Pablo Angel.
A former swing-man for the Galaxy, Angel rediscovered his scoring touch at Chivas and has recorded seven goals this season.
However, Angel is not the top scorer on the team.
That honor jointly belongs to Nick LaBrocca and Justin Braun, who each have eight goals this season for the Goats. Also contributing to the scoring cause is Alejandro Moreno with five goals this season.
Ante Jazic is Chivas's main provider with seven assists this year. LaBrocca has recorded six assists, while Braun has recorded five.
Goalkeeper Dan Kennedy has had a rough campaign for the Goats with a 1.17 goals-against average, a 72-percent save percentage and 97 saves made on the year.
Kennedy has a couple of counterparts in Donovan Ricketts and Josh Saunders. Ricketts has a 0.60 GAA, 39 saves made and an 80-percent save percentage, while Saunders sports a 0.99 GAA, a 75-percent save percentage and 51 saves.
Jazic, Michael Umana, Andrew Boyens and David Junior Lopes have a tough assignment in taking on a revitalized Galaxy outfit that could potentially bring its guns out on the pitch in Landon Donovan, David Beckham and Robbie Keane.
Donovan is LA's leading scorer with 12 goals; Beckham is the Galaxy's main provider with 15 assists, and the play of Keane has raised the bar of sorts for Los Angeles.
Keane was unavailable for the New York match due to international duty, while Landon sat out the match due to injury.
The LA backline of Omar Gonzalez, A.J. DeLaGarza, Bryan Jordan and Todd Dunivant will need to stop Angel from cranking up the temperature while preventing LaBrocca and Braun from generating space.
The big question mark for Los Angeles will be whether or not their long rest affects their performance in a positive way.
For the Galaxy, this will be an audition for fringe players looking to prove themselves, especially with a deciding match against a certain team from Tegucigalpa on the horizon.
Angel should get a goal in this match for the struggling goats, but the main stars of the show for Los Angeles should be back at work, securing an unbeaten regular season run at home.
Los Angeles Galaxy 3, Chivas USA 1
Kickoff at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. is scheduled for Oct. 16 at 6 p.m. PT/9 p.m. ET and will be televised by ESPN and ESPN Deportes.
INS AND OUTS
Marina Perez named Miss LA Galaxy 2012
Marina Perez, an office specialist from Ontario, Calif., was named Miss LA Galaxy 2012 at the Galaxy's match with Real Salt Lake on Oct. 1, 2011.
Peres is a graduate of the University of La Verne with a degree in international finance. She is a classroom volunteer for Elderberry Elementary School, a volunteer for Heal the Bay, a supporter and volunteer for HOPE, a local animal rescue organization; and is a volunteer for the Legends Football Club, a local club soccer organization for kids.
“The moment my name was called was surreal, such a blessing,” Perez told reporters. “I am so grateful to everyone for all of their love and support."
Emily Brantley was named first runner-up; Ivana Rojas was second runner-up, and Nicole Eggers was named third runner-up. Veronica Salas was named Miss Congeniality.