Galaxy-Chivas: Hardly a SuperClassico

Update: Post victory for the Galaxy, David Beckham decided not to give it a go for club and country, by removing himself from Fabio Capella’s side for this coming Sunday’s friendly with Brazil. It’s a good move by Beckham and a bigger one than you might surmise as Beckham wants to obviously make the squad, some suggest that he needs to be putting in time at an overseas club and finally because it may threaten his go at the England cap record.


It’s the Herbalifes vs. Sunderland L.A. and I’ve got my bottle of Barbaroja Argentinian Red Ale and I’m ready to go.

TSG finally made it back to the MLS playoffs after watching the inaugural Sounder-Dynamo affair in Emerald City. Kevin, Antonio, start the discussion in the comments and please rip me apart for the “novi” comments.


Two reasons the Galaxy came out on top

A 1-0 grind-it-out win for Donovan and company that saw Los Angeles keep more possession in midfield and play more consistently in the back than Chivas. Does anyone actually call Chivas the Goats? Is that a real nickname?

Here are our observations, rudimentary as they might be, on a game where LA pushed the ball to Beckham to create opportunities and Chicago did not really string anything together more than a few sprinting counters toward the middle/end of the 1st half.


• Thank you, thank you ESPN Soccernet. Nothing interesting on the game in your pre-game columns and then I go to look at the start time of the match and you’re match card says 19:30 EST (7:30 EST). So I tune in and I’m subjected to a pre-game that not only did I not have time for, but that I really didn’t want to see. I walk away thinking the game now starts at 8pm EST–I come back at about 7:50 and it’s 9 minutes in. Disservice.

• Carey Talley, sir. You are a defender. You are a captain. You are from Tennesse, not South America. You don’t have long enough hair. And you probably don’t score.


Let me spell it out Talley: L-O-S-E T-H-E M-A-N-B-A-N-D

Lose the manband!

You’re a captain for chrissakes. After the manband and the yellow card in the first half, I hoped for a better second half for you that allows you to sport that extra non-essential accessory. Not sure you earned it in your team’s finale.

• I’m sorry, I see Bruce Arena and I don’t think, “former USMNT coach” or “former Virgina coach.” I think “Ba-Ba-


TSG presents, "You make the call." Gary Dell'Abate or Bruce Arena?


• I think Jonathan Bornstein *is* going to make it there. “There” being a quality defender. He has the tools and I can see growth in his game. I’d like to see him play with more confidence and, most importantly, lose the silly “non-fundamentals” plays.  Bornstein went to his dominant foot to make a clearance midway through the first half and cleared the ball right into Edson Buddle’s arm (could have been his Buddle’s head and could have been a goal). Great play (and speed) getting back to disrupt the play for Bornstein–but a horrendous decision. C’mon Johnny, be good.

• Sacha Kljestan is just an unbelievably inconsistent player. Laid into a 30-yarder and nearly scored in the first half, but also had worse than a Clint-

San Jose Earthquakes vs Chivas USA

TSG to Kljestan: You have not arrived yet. Quit the antics.

Dempsey-against-El-Salavador giveaway in his own end that led to a good chance for the Galaxy. I expect more from Kljestan. You haven’t “arrived.” So you don’t get to yell at officials and you don’t get to be nonchalant on the field. We need some visionary midfield play on the USMNT, but you’ve got to improve.

And once again, Taylor Twellman agrees with TSG; this time on SK.

• Speaking of Kljestan, Preki had him out wide to start both halves. I’m not sure if he was trying to force Arena and LA to chance tactics when he brings him later in the half, but the Serbian-American is clearly a central midfielder, not a winger. The ploy didn’t work and also robbed Chivas of midfield linking.

• It is easy to see how Beckham’s upbringing and quality create opportunities for Los Angeles. Simple, effective, visionary passes. The ball obviously to Donovan before the penalty was a “maybe four players in the world can see and do that” ball. I love how Beckham uses the threat of his longball to create spacing. I wish I was a young player and could learn from him.

• I saw Omar Gonazlez’s potential, but I saw a lot more of his youth today. He’ll get there too.

• I expected more from Landon tonight. He’s categorically a threat, but don’t try to make the perfect pass or shot, just rip it. What did you see? Still an effective game for Captain America.

• Cuesta,who I criticized last week, is a yellow card waiting to happen for Chivas. The central defender needs to think a bit more before he acts. Reminds me of a Titus Bramble, minus some pounds. (Update: Learned that Cuesta committed the foul for the penalty kick. Be discreet lad!)

• Extremely surprised at the space through the middle of the field and the midfield. More surprised that neither team capitalized.


Preki: What could have been...

• Mike McGee taken off in the 86th minute, about 85 minutes too late. A few simple passes would have unlocked a lot more Landycakes tonight.

• John Harkes, please explain what you meant by this:

• 78th min. Harkes, “Beckham’s coming out. You’ve got think of the next game. He’s got 5 days to get ready and he’s got to play more this season. He’s got to remember that, not Brazil (England nattie friendly).”

• 85th min. Harkes, “Beckham must have been really hurt. I guarantee you he’s only thinking about this game. This is the one that matter.”

Um, yeah.

• “Loved” the fisticuffs at the end of the game. What the h*ll was Preki doing out there? I love when players mix it up after the game knowing full well that nothing is going to happen. Real tough.

• What I (actually) loved more was Donovan being the last one to leave the field and cheering on all the Galaxy fans. Class.

Thanks TSG readers for getting me into the MLS playoffs.

22 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by michaelneis on 2009/11/08 at 10:02 PM

    so…..i’m assuming everyone still playing (donovan, holden, clark, findley) is officially out of the running for the friendlies. with clint potentially moving up top – that’s a lot of midfield that won’t be accounted for. who do you guys see in the starting XI?


  2. Posted by matthewsf on 2009/11/08 at 10:04 PM

    Sit tight until tomorrow morning for TSG’s horrible shot at predicting the USMNT roster–we’ll start there.


    • Posted by michaelneis on 2009/11/08 at 10:10 PM

      beautiful….your guess(es) are as good as mine. with so many players unavailable, the “open tryout” doesn’t seem so outlandish


      • Posted by matthewsf on 2009/11/08 at 10:20 PM

        You know what Michael. We want to be the best soccer publication. You want the roster piece. You got it. Right……now!


        • Posted by michaelneis on 2009/11/08 at 10:22 PM

          now that’s what i call customer service!!! i might have to make another trip to that Best Soccer Blog voting….


  3. […] Nicknames « Galaxy-Chivas: Hardly a SuperClassico […]


  4. Posted by Antonio H. on 2009/11/09 at 12:07 AM

    commenting on the Chivas nickname rip. you probably know Goat = G.O.A.T = Greatest of All Time. with that being said. . it’s a horrible nickname. . or maybe just a horrible pun. Becvause I think I’ve seen somewhere that the Chivas USA mascot was. . yes. . .a goat.

    And I’d like to see an example of JB’s lack of confidence(besides the awkard clearance that nailed Buddle in the chest). It seemed like he was pretty confident out there. I mean. . .It’s safe to classify him for this match as a Left-sider. . .not a Left back or a left wingback. I mean he was all over that left side like champaigne on the Yanks(pun intended and I dont even follow baseball that much). Did you see that amazing from-out-of-nowhere run in the second(?)half?

    Becks was mfing brilliant especially on that curling lead lob pass to Lando. All over the pitch demanding the ball. AC Milan mustve been ecstatic when they saw what they would be getting next month. . .again.

    I thought Landon semed kind of out of place. He was up top with Magee right behind him. . .and the roles should have been switched. Magee had no idea how to play Left Mid and Landon obviously needed more on ball time not suited for forwards. That’s like telling Chris Paul to play off guard and have someone else bring the ball up the court.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2009/11/09 at 12:17 AM

      The sad thing, is nowhere online (wikipedia, official site, etc.) did I find Goats spelled (appropriately) GOATs, not a reference to it–I’ve played on a team with that nickname so I was familiar with it, but I guarantee you many MLS fans don’t know that.


    • Posted by ed on 2009/11/09 at 8:17 PM

      chivas means goat in spanish, hence the nickname.


      • Posted by matthewsf on 2009/11/09 at 8:24 PM

        Didn’t know that (obviously) and thank you. Any idea why Chivas doesn’t make more use of the mascot?


        • Posted by Antonio H. on 2009/11/09 at 11:00 PM

          probably because they’d come under fire for the use or misuse of the G.O.A.T. pun. who knows. but I knew i’d seen it somewhere


        • Posted by ed on 2009/11/09 at 11:18 PM

          their mother franchise, chivas de guadalajara does make much more use of the goat mascot, like i think they’ve got a guy in a goat suit @ games. i’m in central california, and there are a lot of chivas (not chivas usa) fans around here, and the stickers on cars often have the goat.

          maybe it’s just mls. it doesn’t seem like their mascots are prominently used.


          • Posted by matthewsf on 2009/11/10 at 12:34 AM

            Chivas De Guadalajara have to have some of the absolute best fans on the planet. Had the good fortune to be able to attend the Barcelona-Chivas game at the ‘Stick in SF.

            I have never before seen an entire bull band ensemble, including tuba, at a tailgating party and I have never have counted as many as 15 women/young ladies walking around offering face painting for $2.

            Amazing. In fact, I was going to do a story on it, but my friend who took the pictures lost the camera with them on it.


  5. Posted by Matthew N on 2009/11/09 at 5:41 AM

    Kljestan continues to be the most disappointing player in the world to me. If you would have asked me a couple years ago who my favorite US player was, I would have said, without hestitation, Sacha Kljestan. It is unfortunate that he has failed to become anything close to the player he seemed poised to become, and in fact, he has probably gotten worse. Kljestan continues to disappoint me every single time I see him (whether it be with Chivas or those intermittent USMNT appearances).


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2009/11/09 at 5:44 AM

      I agree on Kljestan — he’s got the talent, but his defensive desire is always questioned. Also, with the malarkey he was dishing at the referee Sunday night, do you really want a hothead like that representing the USMNT?

      Kljestan, I’ve been in your corner. You gotta step it up, guy.


      • Posted by Matthew N on 2009/11/09 at 8:48 AM

        Kljestan just seems like his mind isn’t in the game. It happens to a ton of “star” athletes. They get big and famous and they are touted as the “next big thing” and they change their style, the way they train, or they just straight up stop working as hard. I hope Sacha gets his shit together because he looked like he was going to be great.

        When he was dropping F bombs on that ref, I just thought he was acting like a baby. If I were the ref, I would have gave him a red for running his mouth. But hey, throwing temper tantrums on ESPN2 apparently gets you national team call ups..


  6. Posted by midikw on 2009/11/09 at 7:23 AM

    Did you notice how many times John Harkes said “I was just going to say that” following a play. Omar Gonzales makes a good play and Harkes says, “I was just going to say that Omar has really stepped up his game tonight”.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2009/11/09 at 7:55 AM

      Now that you mention, yes I did.

      I don’t like to harp on announcers because it’s not the easiest of tasks but Harkes really didn’t positively augment the game for me in anyway.

      How about some more historical perspective on things?

      And what was this? At one point he called out the Galaxy for not going after an errant header as two defenders crashed into one another, saying, “Suit me. Look at the chances. You have to go after those.”
      Yet, there were probably 10 other players during the game where an offender could have had a ball that was closer and easier to get to……c’mon.


    • John Harkes is one of the worst football announcers on the planet. He constantly contradicts himself, practices blind favoritism towards players and generally seems to have little idea about football from a perspective outside his own as a hard-working midfield player who scored a goal in England that would be the highlight of any career. His commentary shows why you’ll never find him embarking on a career in management – with managing you’re judged on concrete results. He’d be absolute rubbish but the reality is his commentary is just as bad. All in all, Harkes is a bad advert for football in America.


  7. Posted by Timmy on 2009/11/09 at 7:32 AM

    I agree about Sasha. I have not seen any improvement in his game and why was he called to the USMNT? I would rather see Luis Gil called in. Preki showed great class after the game didn’t he? He should be fined for his “actions.” No MLS coach should be acting like a 10 year old.


  8. Posted by Justin on 2009/11/09 at 11:55 AM

    So, no mention of Landon’s little tribute to Charlie D?

    We were at the game, and I didn’t notice it then but by wife did she was like … “Look … Landon just did a little Stanky Leg / Carlton thing!” …

    Sure nuff watch the ESPN recap, right after the goal maybe 1:15/1:20 or so into the video you can see it.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2009/11/09 at 11:58 AM

      Thanks so much for sharing…appreciate that.

      I didn’t hear a mention during the broadcast, but I was also very focused on keeping my notes.


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