Sunday Chivas USA-Galaxy Playoff Gameday

This is the game Southern California MLS fans have long awaited.

I’d like to say there’s a buzz in the air, a sense of anticipation and tension and plenty of concrete expressions of the rivalry that have temporarily divided friends and families.

I’d like to say that, but it wouldn’t be true.

Even soccer fans I’ve talked to this week are more interested in talking Italian soccer than this first-ever MLS playoff series between intra-stadium rivals.

The upper deck at Home Depot Center will remain empty of fans, a stark reminder of the disinterest surrounding the game.

And I know more than a few season ticket holders who aren’t shelling out extra to take in the post-season.

Maybe its the ticket prices (although prices for today’s Chivas USA-hosted game are considerably cheaper than what the Galaxy will charge next Sunday) in a bad economy.

Maybe it’s the general mediocrity of the teams (and MLS).

Maybe people are just too busy on a weekend where Halloween falls on a Saturday.

Maybe I’m reaching here.

But for whatever reason, I’m just not seeing or feeling the excitement a playoff SuperClasico should bring. Liverpool, Manchester, Glasgow, Madrid, this ain’t – yet.

Perhaps the attention (or lack thereof) is an expression of the quality (or lack thereof) of soccer we can expect to see.

Remember the Galaxy have a 12-6-12 record; Chivas USA finished the regular season 13-11-6.

The Galaxy rank 10th in goals scored in MLS, Chivas USA 12th.

“It’s almost at the point now where we want to score so badly, score early and try to kill games off I think guys are maybe over anxious when they get their opportunities instead of just taking their time to place the ball in the net,” Chivas USA (and former Galaxy) defender Ante Jazic said. “That final third is just killing us right now.”

And of course, we have two goalkeepers ranked in the top six in the league, which is all very well, but fans want to see great goals rather than good saves in general.

One possible key to the game: Galaxy central defender Gregg Berhalter. Expect Chivas USA to try to exploit his lack of mobility and speed.

That’s logical, right, Ante?
Answer: “I don’t know the game plan yet.” (big smile)
Translation: Yes

Follow these links for more info and insight:

* Game preview.

* More on the rivalry between players from The New York Times.

* Chivas USA’s ghosts of playoffs past.

* My column from earlier in the week.

And since you’ve read this far, remember the game kicks off at 2 p.m. on ESPN2.

I’ll blog from the stadium as usual.

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About Nick Green

South Bay-based Los Angeles News Group soccer columnist and blogger Nick Green writes at the 100 Percent Soccer blog at www.insidesocal.com/soccer and craft beer at the Beer Goggles blog at www.insidesocal.com/beer. Cheers!
  • Studs Up

    Once again the local soccer press (read Green and Jones) who cannot get a word in edge wise in their anti soccer papers comes out blasting the league and gets plenty of ink.

    This league is trying hard to stay on it’s feet and you “journalists” just tear it down at evey opportunity.

    There has been scant coverage of the playoffs all week and then flood gates of criticism open up on the day of the game and they’re prominently displayed in your papers. Do you need players behaving badly to get some false drama for your sorry papers? If you had any insight into the game you would have had enough material to fill your sport pages.

    You don’t know how to write about the game nor are you qualified to comment on it. So I suggest you become “fans” and hang with idiots who rather watch foreign crap on TV. They are not American soccer fans and neither are you interested in American soccer’s growth.

    Go Galaxy, Go MLS.

    $%#@ EPL, Serie A-Z, La Liga …. and all their supporters in this country who hate on our league.

  • mbar

    Every now and again you come up with a report that reminds us all what a complete douche you are.

    F U and your EPL, La Liga, Serie A loving friends.

    F Chivas

    Go Galaxy

    Go MLS

  • Nell

    Studs and mbar – gotta say I agree with you in your comments.

  • RRR

    Geesh, take a chill pill gents. I don’t know about Jones (yet), but how can you read what Nick is writing as anything more than the truth about LA!!!, and not MLS.
    After all, Seattle, and Toronto are doing just fine, thank you very much.
    Listen Nick (and you two blokes…IF you can be honest), I don’t know how long you’ve been in the states, but learn what the rest of the country has learned: LA only supports the big four: USC football, Lakers, Dodgers, and UCLA hoops. There is a reason there is no NFL team in LA after all…

  • http://www.phoenixcsc.com Kingsnake

    Hard to get the soccer moms excited when The League is about to bugger off to Milan. But that is to be expected when you put all your marketing eggs in one self-centered basket …

  • RRR

    As far as “buggering off”…well frankly, most of the US seems to need to learn about FIFA rules. No surprise there, as it just proves how far the US “fan base” has to come when all is said and done.
    Funny now Manny became loved by the LA fan base, considering.
    No?
    Yet, how is that any different, other than the fact that DB WILL be back.
    Frankly, I wouldn’t blame him if he opted out. I mean I would, and most would, considering…

  • Mbar

    So Nick, what did you think about the “empty seats” in the upper deck? Oh thats right there weren’t any. That’s ok, you can still bitch and moan about the quality of play.

    Go on being a miserable man and cater to Eurosnobs…

  • RRR

    Well Mbar, I don’t know what you were seeing through your rose colored glasses, but the whole upper deck was empty until the second half.
    …typical LA to be honest.
    So, your issue is….?

  • Joseph D’Hippolito

    Studs Up, if you want more than scant playoff coverage, go to the soccer blogs (soccerbyives.net is perhaps the best). No local newspaper is going to give a lot of coverage to the MLS playoffs — despite the fact that the Galaxy and Chivas USA are playing each other — for several reasons.

    1. Space and resources are falling in all newspapers.

    2. Sports editors believe that the World Series, NFL, NBA and college football deserve more coverage because more Americans are far more interested in those sports than in soccer.

    Reason #2 is evidence enough why MLS should never go to a fall-to-spring schedule. Coverage would be buried by too many competitors, not least of which would be the overseas leagues.

  • Studs Up

    J. D’Hipp,

    There isn’t a blog I don’t follow. I stopped reading the local papers for soccer news 40 years ago. I keep my LA Times subscription up for sympathy and nostalgic reasons more than anything else. I like walking out and picking up the paper every morning before I turn the laptop on.

    You’re making my point for my initial tirade here with your reasons for lack of coverage. Soccer can’t get a foot in the door in most major newspaper markets so the local journalists who sneak in a column once a week on the subject need to be aware of the damage they can cause. We are talking about two Englishmen here for heavon sake who presumambly have some affinity for the sport. If it was coming from a yahoo who didn’t know a difference between a free throw and a free kick then I will not be so upset. But from the likes of Graham L. Jones, and to a lesser extent Nick Green, it’s hard to swallow when they continue to be negative, condescending and IMBALANCEd. At least Simers is funny, these guys are not. I guess they both have other functions in their papers to fall back on so let soccer be damned which further makes my case for them not being qualified to report on this sport.

    And please don’t tell me it’s not the function of journalist to save the sport. I would buy that arguement if the said journalists prove to their readers they are unbiased and balanced in their views and who exihibit a keen awareness of what it takes to have a go at this sport in this country.

  • Joseph D’Hippolito

    Studs Up, my guess is that Messers Jones and Green are indulging in the English style of sportswriting. And, as you know, soccer doesn’t need to be saved in England. Frankly, I’m not sure what any journalist can do to save any sport. The fans are going to be fans regardless of what sportswriters write. The sponsors will be sponsors because of the amount of exposure and money they can get for being associated with a soccer team or the sport as a whole. The magnates (Blatter, Warner, et al) will continue to be corrupt because they can get away with it.

  • Studs Up

    J. D’Hipp,

    Couldn’t bring yourself to say TABLOID writing, could you?

    You don’t think the amount of news coverage of a sport has any relation to amount of advertizing $$ sponsors shell out? You think Herbalife paid $5 for Beckham’s soccer playing abilities?