Chivas USA-Galaxy rivalry continues to heat up
Text you later
OK, I know it's not quite ESPN's Chris Mortensen to Brett Favre and vice versa but Richard Motzkin, Bruce Arena's agent, sent me a text during the first half of the Galaxy-Chivas Primetime Thursday match. It was in response to my question if he had any news to add on Arena's dialogue with the Galaxy and/or Bruce's main entrée choice during dinner with AEG President Tim Leiweke Thursday evening at the Home Depot Center. Motzkin's carefully worded reply in regards to Bruce was simply, "Bruce is enjoying a game in L.A." Seems like a long way from the East coast to catch a game. If Bruce is coming to L.A. to become the Galaxy head, someone let him know his first round of golf at Trump National is on me.
Boys' night out
After nearly 14 months living in Los Angeles, David Beckham has figured out how to best battle and navigate through and around the tricky L.A. traffic. One trick to get around is to use the carpool lane, gas prices are sky-high and we're all trying to be green anyway. So on Thursday Beckham decided to carpool and have one of his buddies ride shotgun to the Home Depot Center Thursday night. Who was the car pool buddy? San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker. France didn't qualify for the Beijing Olympics so Parker has been off this summer and free to dive headlong into the other sport he loves, soccer. Parker, 2007 NBA Finals MVP, is a self-professed soccer fanatic and friend to French international Thierry Henry. Parker emerged from Beckham's black Rolls Royce with David and walked toward the Galaxy locker room with Beckham before watching the match from a box.
Ante Razov is close to returning to injury rattled Chivas USA and it looks like just in time. Razov hurt the MCL in his left knee in the SuperLiga match July 20 against the New England at Cal-State Fullerton and blamed the poor field conditions for his latest injury. Razov told me before the match that he could've played against the Galaxy -- a team in which he has torched in the past -- but the Chivas USA medical staff decided to hold him out for another game. Razov, who was showing vintage form before the injury, has averaged nearly nine goals a season over his career but only has four goals in 14 matches in this injury-plagued campaign.
U.S. Olympian and Chivas USA midfielder Sacha Kljestan was desperate to play against the Galaxy less than 24 hours after the U.S. was knocked out of the 2008 Beijing Olympics by Nigeria. However, the coaching staff thought better and held him out of the game.
Kljestan landed at LAX at 6:30 p.m. and made it to the Home Depot Center just in time to wish his teammates well as they left the locker room. Kljestan enjoyed his short time in China and actually got to spend some time soaking up the Olympic experience.
"We got to spend some time in the Olympic village and that was cool," Kljestan said."It was so big and spread out, we had to walk like 20 minutes to get around to get food and things like that and the coaches weren't to happy about us being on our feet that much."
Kljestan, who did not see the red card incident involving Michael Orozco, said head coach Peter Nowak did a good job providing some closure. "Peter brought us all together and didn't single out anyone. He went down the roster and reminded us that we win as a team and we lose as a team."
A fiery end to the SuperClasico finale
Chivas USA coach Preki may be in some more trouble with the MLS disciplinary committee after his latest incident. In the midst of all the postgame well wishes being exchanged by both Chivas USA and Galaxy players Preki, just back from serving a two-game suspension, grabbed, shook and pushed Galaxy midfielder Pete Vagenas.
Before anyone knew it the handshakes and hugs quickly turned into a giant pushing and shoving match between both teams as everyone was trying to separate Preki and Vagenas. CSC security and others helped break up the brief skirmish. Vagenas had no idea why Preki reacted the way he did after the match, but apparently Preki took exception to something Vagenas did during the game. It's just another reason why the rivalry has become the most intense in MLS.
The rivalry's intensity spilled into one of the Southeast parking lots at the Home Depot Center, as a much more dangerous altercation involving Galaxy and Chivas fans erupted after the match. L.A. Sheriff and Police, including a half dozen of L.A.'s finest on horseback, broke up the scuffle that lasted about 10 minutes. Members of both teams' supporters groups were involved, with empty and full beer bottles being thrown. At least one person was seriously hurt and was treated by L.A. Fire and Medical first responders.
Line of the night ...
"You know I like to have a little style in what I am doing."
Interim head coach Cobi Jones on his decision to ditch the L.A. Galaxy golf polo for the classic Hollywood look for his head coaching debut.
Allen Hopkins covers Major League Soccer and U.S. Soccer for ESPN. Look for Allen patrolling the sideline during "MLS Primetime Thursday." He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.