In the 38 years since major professional sports arrived in Arizona, there have been several great rivalries, from the Suns-Lakers hardwood battles to the Diamondbacks’ intradivisional wars with the Dodgers and Giants. Tonight, the Valley will get the chance to see another intense rivalry when El Super Clasico is played for the first time in Arizona.
In Mexican soccer circles, this is the ultimate of matches, pitting rivals Club America and Chivas de Guadalajara against each other.
The rivalry dates to 1943 and encompasses 192 games — America holds the all-time edge with a record of 69-60-63. Chivas won the most recent match, defeating the Eagles 2-0 on Sept. 30 in Guadalajara.
America is considered the New York Yankees of Mexican soccer. The team is based in Mexico City and is the country’s richest soccer organization. Much like the Bronx Bombers, America uses its cash to assemble a roster that consists of top players from other countries, in addition to its Mexican-born players.
It is also the most prolific team in Mexican league history, having won 14 league titles. America is celebrating its 90th anniversary this week and will be donning special jerseys during tonight’s match to mark the occasion.
Guadalajara, however, is considered the most popular team of Mexican soccer. The main reason is that the organization only fields Mexican-born players. Not to mention the fact that it rivals America in the title department with 10 league championships.
Guadalajara’s popularity is not only limited to Mexico. The team has so many fans in the United States that the organization fields a team in Major League Soccer based in Los Angeles, Chivas USA.
As it is with every rivalry, there are players who have worn the colors of each team. The most recent player to switch teams was current Chivas goalkeeper Oswaldo Sanchez.
Sanchez played with America from 1996-1999 before jumping ship. Sanchez came into the Mexican league with great expectations, but his seasons with America were disappointing. Since transferring, Sanchez has come into his own, even solidifying himself as the starting goalkeeper for the national team.
With two weeks left in the Opening Tournament, the teams are looking to finish strong to win their group. Each team is in second place in its group.
Guadalajara is 6-4-5 and has earned 23 points in Group 1, three points behind first-place Cruz Azul. America is 7-4-4 with 25 points, one point behind Group 3 leader Toluca.
Because tonight’s game is a friendly, the standings will not be affected.
El Super Clasico
Who: Club America vs. Chivas de Guadalajara
When: 8 p.m. today
Where: University of Phoenix Stadium
Tickets: $25-$125 at Ticketmaster.com