07 August 2006

a good weekend for soccer

and you thought I’d stop posting about soccer when the world cup ended...

The MLS All-Star team beat the English club Chelsea in the all-star game this Saturday. This is a good sign for soccer in the United States, especially after the national team's dismal showing in the 2006 World Cup. The U.S. league knew they had something to prove, and they did by defeating the West London powerhouse.

. . .

some of the top European soccer clubs typically tour the Americas during the off-season summer months. Last year, mi esposa were lucky enough to catch Real Madrid v. Los Angeles Galaxy. We were able to see some of this era's greatest players on the pitch--Zidane, Figo, Beckham, and Owen to name a view from their 2005 roster. Unfortunately Ronaldo didn't play that game due to injury so we didn't get to see the Brazilian striker. Real beat Galaxy 3-0.

Fresh off their victory in the European Champions league, FC Barcelona is touring the Americas this summer. Yesterday, they played CD Guadalajara (better known as Chivas) at the Los Angeles Coliseum. And what has become a summer soccer ritual, mi esposa and I attended the game to catch the action.

We went to see Barcelona, but most of the crowd was there for Chivas, the most popular club in Mexico. The couple sitting next to us drove all the way from Tijuana just to see this game. Chivas prides itself on being 100% Mexican. It is one of the few soccer clubs that do not hire foreign players. (it's quite elitist if you ask me). Practically every Mexican in the greater LA area was at Exposition Park wearing red and white striped Chivas jersies and waving Mexican flags. I got a kick out of yelling "Barca! Barca!" at them.

About half of the players on Chivas played on the Mexican national team in this year's World Cup. Many of the players on Barcelona played in the World Cup for their respective home countries—Ronaldinho (Brazil), Marquez (Mexico), Messi (Argentina) and Puyol (Spain) to name a few. This game had a real international feeling to it.

LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Speaker of the California State Assembly Fabian Núñez opened the game with a brief welcome and introduction. They were wearing Chivas jerseys and encouraged the crowd to cheer on the goats (damn Mexicans!). Villaraigosa then went up to sit up in the media box with Kobe Bryant, who apparently is a big fan of Ronaldinho—after all, who couldn’t like Ronaldinho…he is…magic.

Barca haven't played together in over three months since they won the European Championship in May. One could tell they were a bit rusty. Chivas, on the other hand, have been playing non-stop in both the Copa Libertadores and the Mexican National championship. Suffice to say they were a well-oiled machine.

The first half showed no goals and was a bit slow despite some nice fast attacks by Barcelona striker Samuel Eto'o. The second half picked up when Ronaldinho stepped on the pitch to a swath of camera flashes and roars from the crowd—he was clearly the main attraction in this event. Eidur Gudjohnsen scored for Barcelona in the 74th minute with a nice assist from Ronaldinho. Diego Martinez tied it for Chivas in the 83rd minute. The game was tied 1-1.

The LA Times notes the dire condition of the field. The yard line numbers were still visible from the last USC football game that was played. The grass was green and brown patches. These players deserved a much better field if you ask me. Around the 60th minute the sprinklers came on by the Barca goal box which delayed the game for about a minute. The crowd booed vociferously until the Coliseum maintenance staff corrected the major malfunction.

The attendance—a total of 92,650 in the Coliseum--was the largest ever for a soccer game in the United States involving a club team. One large section of Chivas fans lit flares and flew banners creating a giant cloud of smoke which breezed through the open air coliseum. Me wonders how they snuck in the flares. It was a lively atmosphere to say the least.

I had expected a few more goals but hey, just being there in this festive environment watching some of the best players in the world duke it out was more than a fantastic experience.

UPDATE: here are my pictures from the game


I guess you could say this is the "Original Pime". I stopped blogging here regularly in May 2008 (if you don't count the B-Sides diversion - yes it gets confusing) when I joined the Tumblr revolution. Going forward bravely into 2009, this site will serve to house any large image work I produce.

Peace out.


My Other Blogs

  © Free Blogger Templates Photoblog III by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP