THE CALIFORNIA CLASICO
Football has spectacular rivalries and derby matches, ranging from the famous 'El Clasico' between Real Madrid and Barcelona, to the 'Derby Dell Italia' between Juventus and Roma - it makes the game so much more exciting when there is more pressure applied by the fans on the players to win!
In the Major League Soccer (MLS), the California Clasico is the special one. Both competing teams of the Los Angeles Galaxy and San Jose Earthquakes have social, geographic, and sporting history that makes the games one of a kind!
The MLS does not have teams with that much depth in terms of sporting histories. About seven franchise teams barely have five years in them so there are rarely deep rivalries that reach the California Clasico. With the franchises having their headquarters in different areas and with fans not having a paticularly strong identity, sometimes it can take a while for little rivalries to develop.
LA Galaxy have been a member of the league since its inception and Quakes have also featured in the MLS since its inaugural year though they missed the 2006/07 season as they moved to Houston. The Hispanic community fuels the strong support for both sides in the MLS. This probably earned the games between both sides the ‘Clasico’ tag as common in big rivalries in Spanish-speaking countries.
The next California Clasico will be on May 27th, in San Jose. According to the betteing pundits at BiggestFreeBets, San Jose have the best chance of taking all three points this time around, with LA having struggled to find their form so far this season.
The games seem to also have a political angle to it as Galaxy is in the Southern half of California while San Jose is in the Northern region. The Northern half is associated with liberalism while the other is more conservative.
The fact that the cities are just five hours away helps fans that want soccer entertainment make the trip. During the rivalries, opposing fans try to outdo each other through their displays, chants and show of passion. LA Galaxy used to be the superior side until the rivalry heated up with time.
Landon Donovan is always remembered when both sides meet for his exploits. He helped San Jose at the start of the millennium as Quakes rose in relevance. Donovan would also draw negative emotions for fans of the Quakes when he defected from them to play for their biggest rivals in LA.
Both sides won two MLS titles between 2001 and 2005 until ownership tussle threatened San Jose's existence, though they are now looking to re-build and challenge for the title once more. To date the rivalries are a spectacle but thankfully haven't crossed the line into violence.