What a difference a year has made for the Los Angeles Galaxy.
Los Angeles stumbled out of the gates last term and saw its bid for a second successive MLS Cup triumph written off by virtually every pundit.
But the Galaxy persevered and went on to claim the title, only to see David Beckham depart the club and Landon Donovan miss the opening of the 2013 season on a sabbatical.
It hasn't slowed the four-time MLS Cup champions down one bit in their quest for an unprecedented three-peat. Los Angeles routed the Chicago Fire 4-0 in its first regular season match of the season before advancing to the semifinals of the CONCACAF Champions League with a 4-1 aggregate win over Mexican side Monterrey.
With the Galaxy set to resume MLS action on Sunday with the latest installment of the SuperClasico against Chivas USA, Colin Clark, who joined the club during the offseason from the Houston Dynamo, is impressed with how his new side has kicked off the campaign.
"You look at the scoreboard, and 4-1 is a great result," he told the Galaxy's official website with regards to the Champions League progression. "At home we expect to beat everybody we play. There were moments we showed a lot of brilliance and moments where you could tell the team still hasn't jelled.
"The fact that it's early in the season I think all things are starting to come together and we're only going to get stronger."
That proposition is scary for the rest of the league, especially Chivas USA.
The Goats have long lived in the shadow of their local counterparts. That bit of undeniable inferiority has added a bit more bite to the fixture for Chivas goalkeeper Dan Kennedy.
"The SuperClasico has changed over the years," Kennedy told the official Chivas website. "The Galaxy are coming off from a couple of championships, it's a chance for us to show that we can compete with the best in this league. Obviously this is a huge game, not only for us as players and the organization but, it's really important for our fans that we go out there and not only put out a great effort but get a result."
Chivas is something of an unknown quantity this season. The Goats opened the season with a 3-0 home loss to the Columbus Crew but followed it up with a 3-1 victory over FC Dallas at The Home Depot Center. It remains to be seen which Chivas will show up on Sunday.