Carson, CA – As if either side needs any added incentive for the latest installment of the Super Clasico, there will be more than just three points on the line when the Los Angeles Galaxy and Chivas USA meet at The Home Depot Center on Sunday.
The Galaxy have dominated the battle between Major League Soccer's two Los Angeles clubs, but the reigning MLS Cup champions will looking to bounce back from a humiliating 4-0 routing at the hands of Seattle Sounders FC last time out.
"It's always important to bounce back when you get a bad defeat," forward Robbie Keane told MLSsoccer.com. "It's important that we bounce back, and it's always good to bounce back against another rival. I know the lads are looking forward to getting back on the field and eradicate the mistakes and the way that we played [in Seattle]."
Chivas, meanwhile, is undoubtedly looking to steal some of the spotlight away from its urban counterpart.
The Goats have split the season-series with the Galaxy this term, claiming a 1-0 win on May 19 before faltering in a 3-1 loss. Taking six points from a possible nine this year would go a long way toward initiating a shift in the balance of power.
"It's the little victories," defender Danny Califf told MLSsoccer.com. "Everyone realizes how important this is in the span of the season but that little victory of taking back the season crown and really doing it in an era when [the Galaxy are] trying to pull away, they're spending a lot of money, they're really trying to differentiate themselves and all that, it's important for us to let them know that we're the big dogs right now. That's important to us."
It appears as if the final few months of the season could see the two clubs battle for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Los Angeles enters Sunday's tilt occupying the final slot with 33 points, but three points for Chivas would see the Goats move to within four points of the Galaxy with four games in hand.
"We take a lot of pride in this rivalry," Galaxy captain Landon Donovan said in a Super Clasico news conference on Friday afternoon, "but I think more importantly, probably for both teams at this point, is these could end up the last two teams that fight for a playoff spot. That's where our focus is."
Califf echoed Donovan's sentiments, underlining how important Sunday's fixture is for helping Chivas attain its goals for the season.
"It's probably the most important game for us so far this year," the Chivas captain told MLSsoccer.com. "Not only will it put us within four points of them with four games in hand, it's just the simple rivalry and us feeling in general that we're playing second fiddle all the time. The fans feel it, we feel it."