L.A. rivals share impressive home
By DEREK VANDIEST
LOS ANGELES -- The stadium is impressive.
The Home Depot Center was opened just under five years ago and seats 27,000 for soccer.
It's part of a sports complex, which also features an 8,000-seat tennis stadium, a 10,000-seat track and field stadium and a 2,450-seat indoor velodrome.
Incidentally, it's also home to both of Los Angeles's Major League Soccer franchises, the Galaxy and Chivas USA, who face each other tonight in what has quickly become a heated rivalry.
It's one of three games the Galaxy will play before heading to Edmonton to face the Vancouver Whitecaps in an exhibition encounter at Commonwealth Stadium on May 13.
"It's great, fans love these games and players love these games," said Galaxy star David Beckham. "To have that rivalry, there are always emotions running really high."
Chivas USA joined the MLS in 2005, founded as the sister team of the sporting club of Guadalajara, who play in the Mexican league and are referred to as Chivas.
The team is popular among the Latin population in the Los Angeles area and have a strong following.
"I think at first the rivalry was a little manufactured because we knew when we played against them we were likely going to win the game every time," said Galaxy striker Landon Donovan.
"Last year that changed and now the rivalry has become very intense."
The game has been dubbed the SuperClassico, one of three regular-season meetings between the teams this year. While it doesn't compare to some of the other big soccer games between city rivals around the world, it is starting to gain a reputation of it's own.
"Outside of the field we have good relations with them," said Chivas defender Claudio Suarez. "But on the field it changes completely. A passion has grown for this game, not only by the players but by the fans. It's an important game."
© Edmonton Sun 2008