Less than a week before the two sides clash at the Home Depot Center, the Los Angeles Galaxy fell to Chivas USA 2-1 in the MLS Reserves League. Hector Jimenez scored the Galaxy's lone goal in the defeat, scoring in the 25th minute to give them a 1-0 lead. But they couldn't hold onto that lead in the second half, and the Goats put two on the board to win it.
Even though this was a reserves match, at times it didn't feel like one. There were members of the Angel City Brigade, chanting and jeering, along with a few Chivas fans. In past reserves games that I've been to, no more than 50 people showed up. There were at least twice that there to watch what could be called "El Mini SuperClasico," as this game was a preview of what is to come on Sunday.
Aside from a clear difference in the crowd size, the game itself was intense. Both sides played with a vengeance. Donovan Ricketts was in goal, and very vocal the whole game, yelling at his defenders when they were out of position--something that happened a lot.
Ricketts seemed particularly annoyed with Jimenez, who apparently doesn't know his right from his left. At least three times during the second half, when Ricketts was on our end of the field, we could hear him yelling at Jimenez, "Hector! Left, Hector, left! Hector! LEFT!!" But Jimenez didn't budge an inch. Then the crowd, who could hear Ricketts clearly, started yelling at him, "Hector, left! Left!" I don't know if he couldn't hear us, or needed time to put up both his hands to see which formed the "L" shape, but it took Jimenez an awfully long time to move left into position each time Ricketts shouted at him.
As the game progressed, I noticed that some of the first team Galaxy players were trickling in from practice to watch. David Beckham, Landon Donovan, and AJ DeLaGarza were among the many watching from the sidelines. In the second half, Beckham left the field with one of the trainers. Chaos ensued as 20 young girls who had been watching the game got up and sprinted after him. It was a stampede of screaming teenagers, something I'm sure Beckham is used to, but still, it was a little terrifying.
After the Beckham incident, things got exciting on the field when Mariano Trujillo started a shoving match with Chad Barrett. I'm not sure why Trujillo picked arguably the toughest guy on the field to fight with; Barrett made him look silly. Luckily for Trujillo, the ref and players stepped in before punches were thrown. Barrett was fired up and Trujillo wouldn't have stood a chance in an actual fist-fight against him.
After that, the whole tone of the game changed.
Every time Barrett got the ball, he was met with a harsh tackle, and sometimes even a shove. It seemed like the Chivas players were out for blood. This is always a heated rivalry, and I'm certain that the game on Sunday will be just as intense, if not more.
Who looked good:
- Youngster Jack McBean put in a solid 62 minutes, with the assist on Jimenez's goal.
- Until a Chivas player injured him about 20 minutes in, Mike Magee was playing well. Magee left the field under his own power, and even gave a thumbs up to the curious crowd. All good signs.
- New signing Dasan Robinson had a great defensive game. While the other defenders looked slow and out of position, Robinson held up his end of the field.
Who look not so good:
- For some reason, Paolo Cardozo does not perform well in reserves games. I've been to a few, and in the past, Cardozo did not impress me one bit. Too many giveaways, not enough chances created. He's done well with the first team, but he didn't look good out there yesterday.
- Miguel Lopez, who also has been getting some first team minutes, was constantly out of position. He came on as a sub for McBean in the 62nd minute, playing up front, and he was never in the right place. He looked completely off his game.
The Galaxy reserves are a pitiful 1-6-2 this season. How it is possible for the first team to be the best in the league, but the reserves to have such an awful record is mind-boggling.