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Air of uncertainty surrounds Sunday's Galaxy-Chivas USA game

The Southland's two MLS teams meet for the first time this year, and the Galaxy is unsure what to expect from Chivas, which has a new coach and a remade roster.

March 16, 2013|By Jim Peltz
  • Coach Bruce Arenas, left, and the Galaxy will face a different-look Chivas USA on Sunday, including new Head Coach Jose Luis Sanchez Sola.
Coach Bruce Arenas, left, and the Galaxy will face a different-look Chivas… (Victor Decolongon, Jeff…)

They share the same stadium but the Galaxy faces an unfamiliar Chivas USA on Sunday.

"We're not sure what to expect," Galaxy forward Mike Magee said of Chivas USA, which overhauled its roster and named a new coach in the off-season.

The 2 p.m. game at Home Depot Center is the first of three matches this season between the two Major League Soccer teams in what's known as the "SuperClasico" series. The Galaxy won two of the three games last year.

"Always good to play in these games, always a good atmosphere and bragging rights for the fans," Galaxy forward Robbie Keane said.

The Galaxy has won the MLS championship the last two years, earning the 2012 title after rebounding from a dreary start. The Galaxy opened this season with a 4-0 win over the Chicago Fire on March 3.

"We're off to a good start," Keane said. "It's important to maintain that and hopefully get another win under the belt. We all know [the start] last season wasn't good enough.".

Chivas USA cleaned house after going winless in its final 14 matches, a franchise record, last season. Jose Luis Sanchez Sola was named coach and several of the team's new players also are new to MLS. Chivas USA is 1-1 in MLS play this year.

"We're playing against a bunch of players who, for the most part, we don't know," Galaxy Coach Bruce Arena said. But, he added, "It's apparent they're an improved team."

Whenever the Galaxy and Chivas USA meet, Arena said, "We know it's an emotionally charged game and it's going to require us to play at our best for 90 minutes."

The Galaxy last week also advanced to the CONCACAF Champions League semifinals, in which it will play Monterrey of Mexico. It defeated CS Herediano of Costa Rica in the quarterfinals.

The first game of the two-leg semifinals will be April 3 at Home Depot Center, and the teams will play the second game in Mexico a week later.

james.peltz@latimes.com

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