Especially after what happened in the first leg of the SuperClasico earlier this season.
Los Angeles will try to snap a three-game winless stretch Sunday night when Western Conference-worst Chivas looks to avoid a franchise record-tying seventh consecutive defeat.
Back home following a 3-1 loss to Vancouver on Wednesday in Jose Luis Real’s MLS coaching debut, Chivas (3-9-2) is still eyeing its first victory since a 2-1 home win over the Whitecaps on March 30. The club has dropped seven in a row once before, Sept. 2-Oct. 3.
“We just gotta clean it up,” former Galaxy forward Tristan Bowen, who scored in the seventh minute, told Chivas’ official website after the club conceded two first-half stoppage time goals.
The two-time defending MLS Cup champions are expecting to see a better effort on Sunday, even though Chivas has been outscored 22-4 in an 0-8-1 skid.
“Regardless of what has happened previous to our game, this is the game of the year for them,” coach Bruce Arenas told the Galaxy’s official website. “One would predict they’re going to play with a lot of emotion and be quite competitive regardless of who they play and how they play.”
Los Angeles is 10-1-5 in this intracity rivalry since 2008.
The Galaxy, though, bring little momentum into this match as they’ve scored once during an 0-2-1 slide. Los Angeles was shut out for the fifth time this season in Wednesday’s scoreless draw against Portland.
“It was a defensive game tonight. Both teams defended very well,” said striker Robbie Keane, who hit the post with a header after missing two games to play for Ireland’s national team.
Los Angeles goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini stopped four shots, which was a vast improvement from his previous start, a 5-0 loss at New England on June 2 that tied for the most lopsided defeat in Galaxy history.
Cudicini faced just one shot on goal March 17, but he wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a little more action this time.
“From my experience, these games are the most dangerous ones,” he said. “You have to be prepared mentally more than physically. We cannot make mistakes, especially after a good draw on Wednesday night. We need to pick up some points. We need to keep our level of concentration.
“This could be a tricky one.”