LAFC, Galaxy hosting Club América, Chivas in exhibition matches

Mexico’s club América are five games into the Liga MX season, but they’ve flown almost 10,000 miles over the past two and a half weeks to play four games that don’t count.

League rivals Chivas paused their Liga MX season last month for a 2,500-mile round trip to Las Vegas for a lucrative show with Juventus.

So when teams play LAFC and Chivas play Galaxy at SoFi Stadium, America on Wednesday, you can’t expect their best players to give it their all for 90 minutes. Ditto for the two MLS clubs, who are themselves too deeply involved in tight league races to place much emphasis on meaningless friendlies.

The exhibitions are designed to hype the Leagues Cup, a month-long tournament featuring all 47 teams from MLS and Liga MX that will begin next summer. Those games will mean something that Wednesday’s games won’t, although organizers said on Tuesday more than 70,000 tickets had been distributed and the doubleheader is sold out.

Still in contention is America coach Fernando Ortiz, whose weary players have won just one of their last eight games and are 15th just two points below basement in the 18-team Liga MX standings, said the recklessly condensed schedule was no reason for his team’s poor play.

“It’s not an excuse,” Ortiz, whose team hasn’t played at home since early July, said in Spanish. “I don’t like excuses. We will continue in the same way.

“I’m not going to get it in my head, ‘Look at what happened, look at what’s coming.’ no The game is tomorrow and we have to play well.”

America just can’t make it with all of their first-team players. Although all four coaches were under some pressure to use their starters in the League Cup, Ortiz sent five players – midfielders Álvaro Fidalgo and Diego Valdés, and defenders Luis Fuentes Jorge Sánchez and Néstor Araujo – back to Mexico to do what one The team official said, “Soft training.” Ortiz called up two defenders from the U.S. U-20 reserve team to take her place.

Chivas coach Ricardo Cadena, whose team (0-1-5) are without a win in Liga MX but sit a point ahead of America (1-3-1) in the table, is also trying to walk that fine line between winning the Test taking the galaxy seriously and protecting its players as they near the end of a streak that will see them play seven times in 20 days.

As a result, fans at SoFi on Wednesday will recognize the four teams’ iconic uniforms, they may not recognize all the players wearing them – especially in the second half.

Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne tries to get the ball past Club America's Alvaro Fidalgo and Nestor Araujo.

Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne, right, tries to get the ball past Club Américas Alvaro Fidalgo (8) and Nestor Araujo (centre) during the first half of the Copa de Lone Star July 20 in Houston.

(Michael Wyke/Associated Press)

Galaxy coach Greg Vanney, whose side are a point below the MLS playoff line with 12 games to go, suggested the game against Chivas will be a sort of training exercise for his club.

“A lot of cup competitions, especially this time of year when we’re moving into the second half, fit into a crowded schedule,” he said. “We’re going to use the game as a vehicle to work on some things that we want to work on.

“It’s an important game for the league. It’s a showcase for the fans that will be there. But for us it’s an opportunity to work on some things as we continue to prepare for our season.”

The two games, played on a grass carpet over SoFi’s artificial turf, are the latest additions to a growing partnership between MLS and Mexico’s Liga MX. In addition to next summer’s tournament, the two leagues will also face off in next week’s MLS All-Star Game.

And these interactions have helped close what was once a significant gap in the level of play between the two leagues.

“MLS is a clear example of improvement for all of us,” Cadena said in Spanish. “They are either very close or at the level of clubs in Mexico. They compete well, they have players from abroad and many international players have come too. For me it is a very attractive and very competitive league.”

For LAFC coach Steve Cherundolo, a former World Cup defender who knows well the rivalry between the Mexico and US national teams, the new competition between the leagues is welcome.

“It’s catching on and that’s great,” he said. “Every time we can add more emotion to games, the better the game becomes. And it means even more to the fans.

“The development of those relationships or those rivalries is important.”

https://www.latimes.com/sports/soccer/story/2022-08-02/club-america-lafc-chivas-galaxy-sofi-stadium-exhibition LAFC, Galaxy hosting Club América, Chivas in exhibition matches

Emma Bowman

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