Editor's note: Welcome to MLS Fan Watch, in which ESPN Playbook takes a closer look at the supporting group for each of the eight MLS conference semifinalists. The fourth in the series focuses on fans of the LA Galaxy.
The Galaxy finished fourth in Western Conference with a 16-12-6 record, but after dispatching the Vancouver Whitecaps 2-1 in the knockout round Thursday, they are starting to look more like the defending champs.
Their fans, meanwhile, will be ready for anything against rival San Jose in the conference semis.
When Galaxy supporters traveled north for the team's rugged 2-2 draw against the Earthquakes two weeks ago, 100 Galaxy fans were ejected and seven were arrested after an incident in the stands.
Let’s hope things remain civil when Becks & Co. welcome the Earthquakes to Carson, Calif., tonight.
• Stadium: Home Depot Center
• Opened: 2003
• Capacity: 27,000
• Supporter groups and stadium locations:
- L.A. Riot Squad: Named for the infamous Los Angeles riot of 1992, this group bills itself as the anti-supporter group. Their No. 1 goal is getting in opponents’ heads. (Sections 137-138)
- Angel City Brigade: Formed in late 2007 by six fans, the group has grown to fill its own section of the HDC. With a strict code of conduct, the Brigade is more about encouraging the home team. (Section 121)
- Galaxians: Established in 1996, the Galaxians are the first and original supporter group in L.A. It has more of a multicultural membership than the others. (Section 123)
• Known for: Pregame excitement. The HDC is a hub of activity before every home game. Tailgating isn't allowed, but it happens anyway.
Soccer Fest on the main concourse draws families to enjoy the games, music, interactive booths and even get photos with life-size player cutouts.
• Sample chant: “Galaxy Hymn" -- L.A. Riot Squad (to the tune of the Marine Corps Hymn)
“From the heart of downtown Naperville
To the slums of San Jose
From the empty seats of Arrowhead
To deserted Tampa Bay
From the darkest swamps of Meadowlands
Down to Washington D.C.
The best team in America
Is the LA Galaxy”
• Fan favorite: Brian Perk, goalkeeper. The Perkolater won a place in fans’ hearts on July 4, 2011, when the backup goalie made his first career start against a red-hot Seattle Sounders squad.
Perk’s first career save was a Fredy Montero penalty kick. The crowd went wild, and he proceeded to keep a clean sheet in the scoreless draw.
• Opponent’s perspective: Practically every Earthquake player tried to downplay the physical rivalry with the Galaxy leading up to their MLS Cup match.
“We are just worried about ourselves and are ready to go no matter who we face,” said Quakes defender Jason Hernandez. “All three of the games we played against LA were different. You don’t really know what to expect every time you go out on the field.
“I don’t think there is any particular strategy that they will implement that will be different. We are just looking forward to a tough match.”