Just when you thought Chivas USA was looking like it might go from first to worst in the Western Conference in just one year, the Goats have awakened and rattled off two straight wins. Just when you thought the Colorado Rapids were going to establish themselves as the best in the West, they go and deliver a flat performance at home.
Sueno MLS winner Jorge Flores scored his second goal in two weeks, taking a step closer to shedding the novelty label and being regarded as a serious soccer player. That transition has come just in time for a Chivas USA attack that had been struggling.
SBI Correspondents John Sandate and Craig de Aragon took in the match and shared their perspectives on the match with us (including a beautiful story from de Aragon that help reveal some beauty in MLS on a weekend when we saw some real ugliness.)
Talley’s arrival helps spark Chivas USA revival
By JOHN SANDATE
Two games, five goals, two wins, six points. Add it all up and you have a surge in the Chivas USA offense that has made some forget that they are still missing many starters and quality back-ups. Beating a first place Colorado team, only casts a bigger question mark over this Chivas USA team, how long can it last? Don’t get me wrong, this was the best game Chivas USA has played all season.
Defensively, they just hovered over the ball and gave Christian Gomez fits. He couldn’t get into his usual rhythm. Lanes were shut down immediately and the flanks were cluttered with red and white jerseys. Overall it was an excellent effort despite missing Shavar Thomas, Claudio Suarez, and Johnny Bornstein. Credit must be given to this back-line especially after the Rapids scored. The last 15-20 minutes seemed to be played exclusively in the Chivas box. Omar Cummings, who has played well for Colorado seemed to just fume with frustration.
The Offense for Chivas USA also saw some line-up changes with Pancho Mendoza moving to right back and thus giving Sueno-MLS star-in-the-making, Jorge Flores. Jesse Marsch scored another gutsy strike. I swear I thought he’d be coaching Chicago Fire, by now. Justin Braun looked effective if not dangerous on some pieces; he looks like Brian Urlacher from a distance.
I think once Chivas started to control the ball efficiently, they were able to impose the style of soccer we’re used to seeing from Chivas USA, short, patient passes, and a ferocious counterattack. The Flores goal from the Talley corner kick was either luck or youthful skill, either way it was awesome. Last year at this time Flores was getting ready to graduate from high school and now he has two goals in two games. Sometimes youth is your greatest asset when you’re plagued by injuries like Chivas USA.
I can’t begin to fathom the idea that Chivas USA only stands three points from first place with the horrible start and M*A*S*H* unit we have on the injured list. Some teams panic and make crazy trades for questionable players and some teams sit back wait for their team to pick up the slack fro missing players. This Colorado game was an example of what Chivas USA is capable of when intensity is up and players like Carey Talley come out of nowhere and remind people that they still have talent.
One fan helps put the game into perspective
By CRAIG de ARAGON
A humbled fan I am. Not because of the loss from my beloved Colorado Rapids but because of the generous deeds that were on display in the stands on Saturday night. The Rapids fell to Chivas 2-1, and yes they should have won, yes they dominated play for the greater part of the 90 minutes, yes Tam McManus had the goal of the week, but what happened at half time stole the show.
The Class VI supporters group organized a St. Baldrick’s event where volunteers shaved their heads on the field at halftime in solidarity of children battling cancer and in hopes to raise over 3,000 dollars for childhood cancer research. Seven people ended up volunteering to have their heads shaved and Class VI surpassed their fundraising goal. However, if emotions weren’t high enough, what happened next put them over the top.
Preston Kilzer is 5 years old; he’s fighting Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. He’s currently undergoing 6 months of chemotherapy and, because of it, he’s bald. He’s a wonderful kid, and loves soccer. He and his family were invited to be honored guests of Class VI and accompany them on the field during the head shaving process. His family obliged but the week before the game Preston fell ill and ended up in the hospital leaving doubts to whether he would be able to make it to the game.
When halftime came and the shavees were losing their locks, Preston was there. After the grooming was complete, the second half started and everyone went back their seats. That’s where the most touching thing I’ve seen in a long time took place. Preston and his family had stayed down on the field, and made their way over to section 108 where Class VI resides. Preston was hoisted up into the air in front of the stands and everyone in the entire section stood and gave him a tearful and well deserved standing ovation. Even fans from other sections turned to see what all the cheering was about. Hopefully what they saw was hope.
Not to divert too far away from soccer or the Rapids this week, but that was the biggest thing from this fan’s perspective that happened at the game. The game itself, albeit secondary to the true life emotions drawn up, was exciting and entertaining. The team played well. They fought hard to the very end and they at least deserved a point.
But it was not to be, not tonight. It was Preston’s night. A night of emotion, something to put life into perspective, and as much as soccer means to me and all of us that read this blog, life will always mean more.