This article also ran on The Goat Parade.
When Chivas USA began play in 2005, they entered the league wearing their parent club's trademark stripes, blue shorts, and even sported a badge based on the city seal of Guadalajara. So it wasn't too much of a surprise when a year later they borrowed from Guadalajara's heritage to name MLS' first intercity rivalry. Coupled with a Honda sponsorship for several years, they chose to invoke the rivalry between Chivas and America by using the name SuperClasico.
The wrong here is that it's a mixed message. Guadalajara-America is a rivalry of major Mexican powers, it isn't an intra-city rivalry. If you want an intra-city SuperClasico you have to look to Buenos Aires and Boca Juniors vs River Plate. It's not a well thought out reference, it's a surface level invocation of Mexican soccer-ness without understanding the meaning behind the words.
This is why Alicia and I feel it's time to champion an alternative name for the series: El Clasico Angelino. It's a name wiki believes was once used by current LA Galaxy Insider Adam Serrano1, and it's a name that invokes CD Guadalajara's Clasico Tapatio with Club Atlas.
Why the name change? It is a time for rebrands. We all know Chivas USA will be playing under a different name in the near future, in part to leave behind years of mismanagement and on-field struggles. Though the club's rebrand hasn't happened just yet, it feels like the right time to turn the page on calling the LA derby the SuperClasico.
Beyond that, calling it "El Clasico Angelino" brings some perspective to the rivalry. We know it is a rivalry, no doubt, but let's face it: The "super" should be earned. It can match the fierceness of the best MLS has to offer, but hopefully the quality in the battle for LA will improve on and off the field for both sides in the coming years.
The series has changed much over the years despite the name staying the same. The Honda sponsorship came with a traveling trophy which has likely ended up in a closet somewhere. It began life as a four match series, and as MLS grew it's been as few as two matches a year before setting on its current three match series.
There's no need to cling to what has been since the beginning a corporate tradition. The media and fans have just as much right to stake claim to a rivalry as those in the front office. Why not chose a name that acknowledges the past, our shared city, and also acknowledges future changes.
It's time for Clasico Angelino week.
1. The link is dead in the Wikipedia article, and the internet archive doesn't seem to have it, but it sounds like the kind of thing Serrano would have used in his younger days. He's got the quick Berkeley wit like yours truly. ↩