Los Angeles Galaxy 5, Chivas USA 2: A Supporter’s View

Los_angeles_galaxy_logo_2Chivas_usa_logo

It had the makings of a tightly-contested rivalry match. The LA Galaxy and Chivas USA were tied 2-2 late in the second half in a match that looked destined to be a tie.

At least before the Chivas USA imploded, Brad Guzan reverted to his awful rookie form and Alan Gordon did his best Bizarro Alan Gordon impression.

Three unanswered goals helped the Galaxy post a 5-2 victory and left Chivas USA searching for answers as to why this year’s version of the Goats is so much worse than the 2007 edition.

The Galaxy’s masterful performance was marred by some ugly scenes in the Home Depot Center stands, where some Chivas USA fans (if you want to call them fans) did their best wannabe hooligan impressions.

SBI Correspondents Nathan Henderson-James and John Sandate were at Home Depot Center and took in the action. Here are there accounts of the match:

Galaxy basking in the glow of a Clasico blowout

By NATHAN HENDERSON-JAMES

Ooooh baby! That. Felt. Good!

Let’s savor that for a moment: Los Angeles Galaxy 5 – Chivas USA 2. As the sign behind the Angel City Brigade said, "THIS IS OUR HOUSE. TIME TO PAY THE RENT!!"

Let’s also take a minute to savor the fact that this victory leaves the Galaxy sitting in second in the West.

Because who knows how long that will last.

But so what? Surely the defense still isn’t instilling large measures of confidence, but, oh, kiddies, what an offense! A hat-trick for Landon Donovan and a brace for, wait for it, Alan Gordon! And other
folks joined in too.

Mike Randolph and Brandon McDonald both won challenges that resulted in Donovan’s superb touch and finish for the first goal. Randolph’s cross resulted in the second goal for the G’s, though it was Donovan’s
grit and persistence that delivered the finish. The third goal was all Alan Gordon’s refusal to quit, the fourth was again Donovan’s finishing touch, and the fifth was what happens when Beckham and
Donovan are on the field together. Offense happens. When Ruiz comes back I don’t know what’s going to happen to opposing defenses, but I’m pretty sure it won’t involve any clean sheets.

What to say about Alan Gordon, a player I’ve taken to the woodshed for three straight weeks? I’m tempted to take it all back, but the reality is that, so far, Gordon isn’t suited to being a starter in MLS.
However, Saturday shows what he could bring to the Galaxy as a late-game substitute and why he always earns praise for his workrate.

On defense, I love Abel Xavier in the air, but he’s also good for about three howlers a game and Saturday night they were worth two Chivas goals. Getting juked by Kljestan (what a move and shot – I hope he packs that for Beijing) and then absolutely bungling the cross that (eventually) led to Razov’s strike are two reasons he always gives me heart palpitations when he’s on the field.

I blame Cronin as well. I don’t know what he was thinking on the first goal, raising his arms like the ball was going wide. If by "wide" you mean curling into the top right corner of the goal, then sure, it was
going wide. Chasing Braun to the endline was also suspect. Yes, if the defenders do this thing called "clearing the ball", Razov never puts laces to leather, but this is the Galaxy back line we’re talking
about.

So far I haven’t said much about the "biggest rivalry in MLS" (thank you oh exalted masters of hyperbole at Fox Soccer Channel). I have a confession to make. I don’t feel it that much. Don’t get me wrong. The
SuperClasico atmosphere is excellent for MLS. But I grew up as a partisan in one of the greatest sports rivalries in the United States: Duke vs. UNC. I enjoy the SuperClasico, but Cameron Indoor Stadium it
ain’t.

On a side note, is it too early to start tracking Sean Franklin for Rookie Of The Year Honors?

Bottom Line: The Galaxy has now scored more goals than any club in the league, but has a 0 goal differential. If I get more games like the last two, then I’ll take it. This is what playing as a team with
confidence looks like.

Last Note: Refereeing is not catching up with the increasing quality of play. On the first Galaxy goal, McDonald handled the ball that (eventually) ended up being buried by Landon and I don’t know how many
other calls were shaky at best. I’m not trying to call out Jair Marrufo so much as I’m yearning for a professionally-called match.

Chivas USA shows poor form on the field, in the stands

By JOHN SANDATE

What can you say about a 5-2 beating from your most hated rival? Not much. It wasn’t sexy, but it was effective. This year’s first of three Honda Super Clasicos was everything MLS would have wanted from any game: pageantry, vociferous fans, and filled seats. To be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect form this game. I knew Galaxy had a little momentum, but I didn’t expect Brad Guzan and the Chivas USA defense to lose focus when the game intensified. The goals came and came, and our defense looked tired. They’ll be back but this loss leaves them in a fragile state. All in all, 14 goals in 5 games, not good. The Galaxy attack deserves credit for bringing it.

Don’t get me wrong. This game really was even for the first 65 minutes and then it happened. Galaxy scored to take the lead and it never looked back. Chivas USA lost it’s mojo never recovered. Ante Razov played well and so didfuture team MVP, Sacha Kljestan. Nevertheless, it wasn’t enough. Credit must be given to the Los Angeles Galaxy for its ability to play with purpose and intent. Chivas USA had spurts and countless chances, but in the end there can only be one victor. Hell, Chivas USA outshot the Galaxy, but with no real result.

Aside from the exciting game, that saw two lead changes, the crowd was intense. The vibe was cheerful and passionate. All that seemed to change after halftime; it started with beer throwing, scuffles, and other “crude” behavior. It was a shameful night to be a Chivas USA fan to get beat 5-2 and to see fellow Chivas fans stoop so low as to provoke fights with themselves. Women and children were also the victims of this vile behavior. I hate to say it but security was lax and should share in the blame. Some Chivas fans looked liked English football fans in the 80’s. Losing is not worth this much. It’s a rivalry, not Shiite vs. Sunni.

Losing to the Galaxy can be fixed, but witnessing mob violence from your own fans, I’m not so sure. It really is just a game. I hope MLS investigates.

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21 Responses to Los Angeles Galaxy 5, Chivas USA 2: A Supporter’s View

  1. Katatonia says:

    the Legion attack both LA supporters and CUSA supporters.

    interesting

  2. nico says:

    just curious, did FSC have a reason to broadcast in a favor of LA? For instance, they were virtually praising the Galaxy for earning two “smart” yellows in the first 10 minutes. How can receiving 2 cards in the first ten minutes be “smart”? (Unless it was a goal saving incident). Particularly, Donovan’s card for a dirty handball. If this had been Ruiz or Galindo perhaps the commentators reaction would have been different. I can’t figure out if it was (1) LA favoritism, (2) Donovan bias, or (3) just dumb announcers. Any comments? Overall, great game by LA and Donovan in particular.

  3. 4now says:

    GUZAN

    IS

    A

    NIGHTMARE.

    please people,

    see the light.

  4. Eugene says:

    Guzan and his back line need a shake up. There’s some strange dynamic going on there — don’t know if it’s Guzan out-of-focus, over-the-hill Claudio Suarez, or something else going on in the back line. Is Jesse Marsch also not helping?

    In any of these cases, the solution is to bring in more defenders. Dan Gargan was brought on this week to compete for the right back spot. Chivas USA also need to bring in another centerback. If these changes work, the team will be right back to it’s ’07 form. The offense looked very good, minus this Justin Braun kid. The whole problem lies with the defense.

  5. howie1976 says:

    Hey Nathan,

    Great read as always.

    Thanks for mentioning the “This is our house……” sign. I made it and the guys over at the Angel City Brigade put it up.

    Go G’s!!!

  6. Nick says:

    Before the game even started, a Chivas supporter punched and pushed a 12 year old kid because he was wearing a Club America jersey. It was really messed up. Every 5 minutes everyone in the GA section was looking around at some manner of fight. Bad behavior wasn’t exclusive to Chivas fans though. Someone in the area of the ACB threw a beer bottle at Kljestan and more soda cups were thrown at him later. But the vast majority of the time is was Chivas fans. Even mothers with their infant children were screaming racial slurs and profanities in Spanish.

    All that aside, great win for us and hopefully we make this the rule instead of the exception.

  7. Zero Cool of The LA Riot says:

    Really is good to see someone call out those scummy Chivas Legion. Obviously as a member of the Riot Squad I loathe the chivas, their fans, and anything associated with them, but the LA Legion are a cut above you all. Based on their actions alone, they should barely be classified as human beings let alone a civilized football fan. It has nothing to do with supporting a club, its a gangland mentality that the Chivas Front office has REFUSED to do anything about. It is my personal belief that the Chivas FO WANTS the Legion to act the way they do, to possibly instill a “Fear” in the opponents, much like the Raiders have in Oakland. I also think that is an overall good idea, that got WILDLY out of hand. We, at the Riot Squad, do our best to make it a hostile environment for any team or supporter group to come to, while still respecting their personal space and rights. It is completely unacceptable to put your hands on any other human being at a sporting event. The sooner the MLS realizes this failed attempt at bringing in Hispanics in Los Angeles to the MLS the better. Move them out of my building, out of my city, and hopefully (good lord willing) out of our league!

    Zero Cool of the LA Riot Squad.

  8. ces8000 of LARS says:

    Security concerns were certainly a factor for this SuperClasico. The Galaxy FO, LA Riot Squad, and HD Security worked together in order to keep fans away from each other outside of the stadium, and it worked well, but inside the stadium they need a bit more “eyes” in the stands. Maybe closed circuit video feeds of the both fan groups (in order to be fair) is needed to ensure that everyone is accountable. I was sitting in the LARS section across the stadium from GA where the Legion and ACB were and we didn’t have any beef on our end. Just some beer that was thrown by a Chivas USA fan, which lead to an ejection and some great chants from LARS in response!

  9. eric says:

    Crazy – I no idea the scene got out of control in the stands. Usually I’m more about the player analysis then the festivities, but good reporting.

    Guzan looks like a wreck right now, bad news for Chivas, but I’m not worried long term (when team USA needs him), he’s class and still very earlier in his career. I do think he could drop some weight and be a bit quicker, I think the biggest question on Guzan filling his potential is if he puts in the work to be a top athlete.

    I was really unimpressed with Braun, he was the first forward I’ve seen all season that Xavier could run down, he’s got USL written all over him.

    As far as the Gals, I’m surprised no one mentioned Franchino yet. It’s still early, but they looked way more solid. I thought Randolph and McDonald played the best I’ve seen them play too, so I don’t know what is causing what. But I think LA will be much better at attacking, in no way should they ever take their foot off the gas and try to hold a 2-1 lead.

    I know Gordon scored the goals, but I also thought Buddle played better, he seemed to get where to run and had enough athleticism to pull it off. Gordon’s goals where flukes, mistakes by Chivas, and LA was simply on fire. The bar is low, but I’d start Buddle again.

    Finally, I really like the way Beckham and Klein play on the right together, I like that a lot better than trying to play them on opposite wings. Instead of two slow wingers you suddenly have two attack minded vets with the work rate to cover for each other who make nice overlapping runs (it’s so Dutch, it might work).

  10. Victor Salama says:

    Very entertaining game, but can we please call this the Super Clasico? It’s a bad joke. How many games have been played by the LA city rivals in their history? 10? 12? Honestly, enough with trying to label everything and let’s enjoy the game for what it is. Let’s revisit this ‘super clasico’ crap in 20 years.

    And can’t FSC find someone else besides Bretos? Oh well, that’s another post entirely.

  11. Victor Salama says:

    Obviously I forgot the word STOP.

  12. MemRook says:

    “The sooner the MLS realizes this failed attempt at bringing in Hispanics in Los Angeles to the MLS the better. Move them out of my building, out of my city, and hopefully (good lord willing) out of our league!

    Zero Cool of the LA Riot Squad.”

    Wow. I totally understand your frustration at barbaric fans, but are you seriously being racist? I think you were spot-on in saying that the Chivas FO is to be blamed, but then you went on to blame it b/c there are hispanics in your “building,” your “city,” and your “league.” That’s too far.

    People can say what they want to on here, and it’s America so you’re even encouraged to speak your mind. BUT, you DO lose credibility when such things are said. I was completely nodding my head with you in agreement until I read those last few hateful, racist sentements.

    Please do all of us a favor and keep those backward-thinking thoughts to yourself.

    I have met many, many, many, many, many hispanics whom I’ve enjoyed sharing both the field and stands with who have never even thought of acting in the way you insinuate requires removal from our stadiums, cities and league.

  13. doug says:

    hey ZeroCool, just to let you know that the hispanics in LA were there LOOOOOOOOOONG before The Galaxy HDC, or MLS for that matter even existed, so you point is all style and no substance, sorta like the LA Galaxy team. Up until 15 years ago, there was no Galaxy, so in some ways the Chivas brand was embedded in SoCal’s hispanic population long before the Galaxy was formed. If you ask any hispanic in LA who they support, chances are they’ll say America or Chivas before the Galaxy comes to mind. Also, bringin the hispanic population to MLS is probably saving them the embarassment of posting attendance figures under 7000 at every game. To say that, when the host of the site and a good portion of its readership, including me are hispanic ameicans is quite insenstive. The fans may get a little crazy now and then, and they are passionate. But for me, I’d rather have those kind of fans pulling for a team rather than the ones in the NBA, NFL, or MLB where fans only show passion in the final 2 minutes of a close game or when prompted by some Jumbotron to sit, cheer, or cheer. To lump all hispanics under that umbrella, because YOU feel uncomfortable is foolish and misguided. Besides, you went to the LA derby. Did you really expect both sets of fans to watch the game and sing Kum-Bye-Ya?

  14. Katatonia says:

    “The sooner the MLS realizes this failed attempt at bringing in Hispanics in Los Angeles to the MLS the better.”

    wow, way to take his comment out of context. hes obvioulsy pointing out the epic failure of the Chivas USA brand.

    fail

  15. Moemar says:

    Hah. As someone who knows Zero Cool personally, I agree that this is just a case of misunderstanding. In the sentence, “Move them out of my building, out of my city, and hopefully (good lord willing) out of our league!”, the antecedent for “them” is “this failed attempt”, referring to Chivas USA. I can see how it was misinterpreted though. Don’t blame Zero Cool, he’s illiterate.

  16. giaco says:

    Here in the city of wind, everytime our boys play CUSA, their fans are definetly out of order. I mean, bringing the hate, passion–whatever you want to call it; to inspire your team and/or put down the other is one thing. Throwing beers/pizza is almost to be expected (although I don’t personally believe it should be)–but when items are thrown onto the pitch, at players, or other spectators that can cause some damage–that, to me, is suspect of hooliganism. Hell, last year some of the LARS folks were telling me about a metal pipe that nailed someone in the head. Of course, it was thrown by a CUSA “fan”.

    Instigating or provoking opposition fans is not acceptable. CUSA fans–most of which (here in Chicago)must mistakenly think they’re going to see the real chivas–come out and instigate some crap. I have, to this day, yet to meet a CUSA supporter that I can even gt along with on a human level. I’ve met a few of the LARS folks, and while I’m sure we’d get rowdy during a match(and maybe even towards each other), I don’t really envision fights breaking out in the stands (nor have I ever seen them).

    Chicago was originally on the table for the location of CUSA. And with the recent addition of Temo I couldn’t have imagined a worse place for CUSA to be located. Sorry you guys out in Lala land have to deal with that. When is the CUSA FO, league, and HDC going to mediate in these instances and put the kaibash on groups that are not supporters, but organised hooligans. It is honestly all it amounts to, and we need to adopt a 0 tolerance policy. Or, if nothing else, when is the league going to instantiate a supporters’ bill of rights? I know we are still far off from where these things matter on a large scale, but it may help to alleviate the growing pains that we are/will be encountering as the league grows.

  17. White Kix says:

    I traveled from Tampa for the game. My first time at the HDC and it was amazing. The staduim is great, and there is nothing better than watching the Galaxy beat up on Chivas. I was on the sidelines near LARS, and they made the game much more enjoyable. Comming from Tampa, the only thing that was missing was a streaker. I guess I have to settle for Beckham taking his shirt off. He is prettier than Tiffany May, but just not my type.

  18. Diane says:

    It is offensive to me that the league allowed two teams to share a city/stadium and then allowed (encouraged?) one to be billed/viewed as the Latino team and the other the Anglo team. I understand that both teams have supporters of both backgrounds, but from outside looking in, that is the opposite of how the rivalry appears to be defined. Its shocking to me as a newcomer to MLS, and absolutely inexcusable in my eyes. How can any good come of starting OUT with an assumption of racial or ethnic division, let alone allowing it to continue?

  19. Paul says:

    “Last Note: Refereeing is not catching up with the increasing quality of play. On the first Galaxy goal, McDonald handled the ball that (eventually) ended up being buried by Landon and I don’t know how many other calls were shaky at best. I’m not trying to call out Jair Muffaro so much as I’m yearning for a professionally-called match.”

    1. It is Jair Marrufo, not Jair Muffaro.

    2. He is one of if not the best referee in the country.

    3. He is a FIFA referee and will be the only US men’s center referee at the 2008 Olympics. None went in 2004.

    4. The LA-CHV match had a number of difficult handball calls to make, but Marrufo did well with most of them, I felt. Donovan’s “hand of God” YC handball was one. Donovan had a legitimate complaint that Nagamura forced his arm out to handle the ball at 33:08, but the call was certainly understandable. Like the hand of God play, it is unlikely that Donovan would have been able to play the ball without the contact. The McDonald handball appeared to me to be inconsequential, although his hand certainly did look to be out of place. There was no closeup on the play to tell for sure.

    5. The only call I believe was missed was the weak foul call and yellow card on Shavar Thomas at 64:04. But it looked like a foul in real time. There were some poor offside calls which weren’t Marrufo’s fault necessarily and his time recording in the second half was weak. Other than that he did very well.

    6. I missed the beginning of each half, so my comments do not apply to the first 8 and 5 minutes of each half.

    7. Marrufo is a professional referee.

    8. His performance in the New England-Dallas ESPN2 match on Thursday was exemplary.

  20. Nathanhj says:

    Paul,

    Thanks for the feedback on the Marrufo comments (my apologies to him and everyone else for butchering his name).

    I do think that Marrufo called a better game than Geiger did the week before (shudder), but I also think it wasn’t consistent in terms of calling fouls at either end of the field. I accept that human error exists in refereeing. I’ve done the job myself, though not at this kind of level. I agree that Marrufo is a professional, but I don’t see how that bolsters anyone’s arguement. Fish don’t argue about how wet the water is and I expect an MLS ref to be “professional”.

    What I am concerned about is that throughout 2007 and now 5 weeks into 2008 is that the overall quality of refing isn’t keeping up with the advances in quality on the field. Players like Blanco and Becks are doing things with the ball that used not to happen in MLS (to take an obvious example) and the refs are not used to how that changes the game. They continue to privilege harsh physical play over precision passing and accurate tackling.

    I want refs who have experience with the more creative style of play slowly welling up in MLS and right now I think they are calling a game with different, unconsious expectations of what can and cannot happen on the field, when advantage can and cannot be acquired from fouls, etc.

    Again, like I said, I’m not calling out Marrufo specifically, just wishing for an overall level of refereeing that advances with the skill of the league.