The first of just two regular season derbies this season between Chivas USA and the Galaxy kicks off at 8 o’clock tonight at Home Depot Center (live on ESPN2 as part of an MLS doubleheader, which sees Real Salt Lake playing at the Houston Dynamo beginning at 6 p.m.).
It’s the earliest we’ve ever had a SuperClasico in the season.
*The Galaxy lead the series 10-3-5.
*Chivas USA were shut out in all three league meetings last year. The club’s last goal against the Galaxy in a regular season match came in a 2-2 draw on Aug. 14, 2008.
*If you’re heading to Carson tonight, here’s the weather forecast (and yes, the rain is done).
*And here’s the game preview from reporter Phil Collin.
Bonus quotes, courtesy of Mr. Collin, include:
Landon Donovan on Chivas USA and the rivalry between the clubs –
“They’re a little bit different I guess than they were last year because they lost their heart and their mettle through the midfield with Paulo (Nagamura) and Jesse (Marsch) now gone. They’re in a stage where they’re trying to find themselves a little bit with the new coach as well as a new identity.
“They didn’t start as well as they wanted and our focus will be to keep them down. Over the last few years except for last year, they’ve been the better team and consistently better. Now every time we play them it’s a real game. Our styles are different, our fan bases are different, our attitudes about the game are probably different. But it’s a great
game – we all enjoy playing in this game.
“We understand what this means. For me it was interesting being in England and seeing some of the different rivalries and how important they are. While we don’t have that historical context to compare it to we all appreciate that this is a big deal. Fifty years from now we want to look back and say we consistently beat them, we’ve had a better record, that we’re the better team.
“The first few seasons they weren’t good, they weren’t competitive.
I”‘m not nave. Not every game is going to feel the same. Not every game is going to feel like playing Liverpool at Anfield. I’m aware of that. However every game is just as important to me personally so whether we’re playing New England or Chivas or an Open Cup game, you have to approach it the same way.”
And here’s Galaxy midfielder Dema Kovalenko on the derby-
“People say we have a lot better team than they do and we have better players – I don’t agree with that. What makes this game so difficult is it’s our field. They think it’s their field. It’s our field and it’s Chivas – we don’t like each other too much because we are so close. They’re a good team, we respect (them) and it’s going to come down to who wants it more.”
Related bog posts from earlier in the week include:
*This Chivas USA notebook.
*My weekly column on the Galaxy’s boys from Brazil.
*Will striker Maicon Santos return for Chivas USA tonight?
Also, here’s an update on recently departed Chivas USA defender Carey Talley.
Lastly, MLS has expanded the designated player rule in an effort to cajole more clubs into splashing the cash on bigger names.
But a designated player is now cheaper, costing $335,000, a reduction of $80,000 (or $167,500 if a designated player joins a club’s roster in the middle of the season).
Full details from the MLS press release:
The opportunities have doubled for Major League Soccer’s clubs to pay select star players above their club salary budgets. All 16 MLS clubs now have the opportunity to sign at least two Designated Players. The Designated Player Rule is a mechanism that in 2007 began allowing an individual club to pay one player any amount above a fixed salary budget charge. The club salary budgets are an expense shared by all MLS owners.
Under its new parameters, the Designated Player Rule also gives clubs the option of “purchasing” a third Designated Player slot for $250,000 that will be dispersed in the form of allocation money to all clubs that do not have three Designated Players. Designated Player slots may be used to sign and retain existing MLS players, but they are no longer tradable.
“Expanding the Designated Player Rule is another example of MLS’s commitment to providing top-level soccer for our fans,” MLS EVP of Player Relations and Competition Todd Durbin said. “After three seasons, we have seen that the Designated Player Rule improves the quality of play, creates intrigue and discussion, and enhances our clubs’ distinct on-field identities. We will continue to see varied approaches from our clubs in assembling their rosters, and these changes will give them increased flexibility.”
The previous budget charge for a club’s first Designated Player, $415,000, accounted for approximately 18 percent of that club’s salary budget. The current rules reduce that budget charge to approximately 13 percent of a team’s salary budget.
Additionally, clubs have the option of “buying down” the budget charge of a designated player with allocation money. The reduced charge may not be less than $150,000. Allocation money are funds, separate from the club salary budgets, provided by the League based upon finish in the previous season, fees collected for the transfer of a player abroad, expansion or exceptional circumstances. Allocation money may be used to reduce the portion of a player’s compensation that counts against a club’s salary budget in connection with signing players new to MLS, or re-signing existing MLS players at the end of their contracts.
In the event that an MLS club transfers a Designated Player under contract to a club in another country, that MLS club will recoup the amount it has spent on that Designated Player before any additional transfer revenue is shared with the League.
These changes to the Designated Player rule are effective immediately. The Primary Registration Window – in which MLS clubs can conduct transfers to acquire players under contract in leagues of other countries – concludes April 15. The Secondary Registration Window opens July 15 and closes August 14, 2010. Registration windows always apply to the country of destination in a transfer. Players out of contract may be signed at any time.