Sunday, October 16, 2011
SUPERCLASICO: L.A.: Motagua can wait
By Scott French
CARSON -- The Galaxy already has won the Supporters' Shield, is nursing injuries with the playoffs two weeks away, and has a far more important match coming Thursday. Chivas USA's elimination from the playoff race nearly two weeks ago wasn't a surprise.
Nothing that happens Sunday will have any bearing on anything -- injuries aside, but let's not go there -- so the matchup at Home Depot Center might just be the most meaningless of SuperClasico clashes.
Galaxy captain Landon Donovan touched on that this week, noting that once the Shield was in hand, “your mind kind of turns a little bit, and you think, 'OK, those last two games, against Chivas and Houston, don't mean anything.' But as this week comes around, you see [the Chivas] guys in the tunnel -- and I did a [fan] appearance [the other] night, and you can see what it means to all the people, all the fans. It makes you realize this game is still important.
“It doesn't mean anything in the standings for either team, but it's going to be exciting. We don't want to lose to these guys.”
Figure the Galaxy to field as close to a first team as Bruce Arena can, with injuries -- Donovan's included -- having a say in the lineup and roster choices with Thursday's CONCACAF Champions League group finale against Motagua looming.
That's the real priority for the Galaxy, which is off to next year's quarterfinals with a win in Honduras -- and likely done without one.
“Our team is pretty good at being singularly focused,” said Donovan, who is uncertain in his return from a minor quad injury that kept him out of last week's U.S. national team's friendlies. “I'm sure Bruce is thinking ahead, and I'm sure some lineup decisions play into that. For us, it's all about playing on Sunday.
“For me personally, I haven't played in a couple weeks. A couple guys have been off a while. We definitely need some time in a real game to get yourself going and get sharp again” before the Champions League showdown.
“There's no question [which games means the most],” he said. “It's no question if we have to choose a game to win, we'd choose the Motagua game. But I've learned that you can't go into any game cautious or passive, or thinking not to get hurt, or you don't want to wear yourself out, because then bad things can happen. We're going to take this game the right way, we're going to approach it the right way, and once it's Sunday at 8 o'clock, we'll start preparing for Motagua.”