Guadalajara has been bolstered by national team and under-20 players who were given additional time off to recover from the Copa America and FIFA U-20 World Cup, respectively, and a huge crowd swathed in red-and-white stripes is expected to pile into the Los Angeles Coliseum.
Los Angeles heads Group A with three points gained from beating Pachuca, 2-1, at Home Depot Center on goals by Alan Gordon and Landon Donovan. Guadalajara met FC Dallas in its opener and shook off its rust sufficiently to score a controversial equalizer by Antonio Olvera midway through the second half to tie, 1-1.
FC Dallas hosts Pachuca (8 p.m. ET) in the early game Saturday. Coach Steve Morrow left midfielder Ramon Nunez off his 18-man roster for the Guadalajara game and the disgruntled player has asked to be traded.
Also on the SuperLiga roster is Kenny Cooper, whose fractured leg may keep him out for the entire season. Perhaps Dallas can replace one of those players for the tournament with Brazilian Denilson, whose discussions about joining the league are nearing fruition.
Whatever happens Saturday, there's good news for the Tuesday Pizza Hut Park finale between the Galaxy and FC Dallas. It's a sellout. Oh, yeah, Beckham!
CLASICOS.D.C. United hosts Club America Sunday (8 p.m. ET, TeleFutura) and Houston plays Morelia (10 p.m. ET, TeleFutura) in Group B. Just how well these games will draw on a Sunday afternoon/evening in two well-supported MLS cities is a good test of the tournament's attractiveness in its inaugural season, but regardless, as contests they'll be fierce.
Houston overran Club America for long stretches yet couldn't finish off the game with a second goal and held out for a deserved yet unnerving 1-0 victory on a goal by Nate Jaqua, whose height and mobility will pose problems for Morelia if the Dynamo moves the ball quickly and sharply.
Joseph Ngwenya labored with a leg injury and his availability for Sunday is unknown.
United took a 1-0 lead against Morelia but like Houston, couldn't get a second goal and really should have, considering it played a man up for the final 32 minutes. It conceded an equalizer by failing to cover the weak side when Adrian Aldrete switched play and Diego Martinez struck a superb shot.
Yet Coach Tom Soehn used relatively untested players like Nicholas Addlery, Devon McTavish, Marc Burch and Rod Dyachenko in a high-pressure game so Jaime Moreno, Greg Vanney and Brian Namoffcould be fit and rested for Sunday.
That's how you want your players with a clasico on the docket.