Call them the Starsky and Hutch of MLS. Jesse Marsch and Jorge Flores have formed an entertaining tandem that keep finding new ways to defeat opponents. Now if only they could get the
orange Dodge Charger red Ford Torino (hey, it was 30 years ago, sue me).
Chivas USA fans won’t care what Marsch, Flores and the Goats drive as long as they keep the three-match winning streak going tonight against the New York Red Bulls. Before tonight’s match, it is worth taking a look back at Chivas USA’s most recent triumph.
SBI corresponent John Sandate was at the match and provided this detailed report on the match (Crew correspondent Rich Fidler’s report didn’t make it due to technical difficulties that we can hopefully address by later today):
Dynamic Duo leads Chivas USA again
By JOHN SANDATE
I’m going to go out on a limb and say that no one in America will ever confuse Jesse Marsch and Jorge Flores with Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres, but you’ll be hard pressed to find more lethal scoring midfielder/forward combo in the MLS. Well, at least in the last three games anyway. Saturday night, Chivas USA exacted some early season revenge on the Columbus Crew and won 2-0. In the first meeting, the Crew won a brutal, physical shootout that saw the expulsions of Sacha Kjelstan and Francisco Mendoza. Combine that with some unusual poor form for Brad Guzan and you had a 4-3 score sheet in favor of the Crew.
It was after this game that I began to question whether Preki was able to handle injuries, suspensions, and poor form all at once. Well, needless to say, I was wrong. He more than proved me and his other critics wrong about his ability to mix old with new. Built more out of necessity rather that convenience, the Chivas USA coach put together a line up that consisted of MLS journeymen in the backline, interchangeable midfielders, and some young guys that many outside of Carson, California had never heard of. Against the Columbus, this Chivas USA team turned the tables on the crew and outmuscled them and matched their attack. This made for a very entertaining game. It’s quite obvious that beyond smoke and mirrors, Chivas USA is incorporating good, old-fashion hustle and tenacity to create this three game unbeaten streak.
Enter Justin Braun, not from Sao Pablo or San Siro, but Salt Lake City. I’m sure he’s an expert on the slopes of Park City, but this guy can play some futbol. His energy and fierce play have made him a favorite of the fans. Against the Crew, he just outmuscled defenders time after time. No one will ever mistake Ezra Hendrickson for a world class defender, but he looked dazed and confused chasing Braun. Speaking of journeyman defenders, Carrey Talley played well again and looked like he was playing the last game of his life. His passing and defense were excellent. Didn’t some RSL fans laugh when Chivas USA traded for this guy? Well somebody forgot to tell him that he was washed up. When he wasn’t tackling, intercepting passes, and fighting for headers, he was making runs toward the midfield like a crook being chased by cops.
Another new lineup change included a player who won a reality show contest in 2007. This is a player that deferred his dream to play college soccer for a chance to play Chivas USA. This is a player started the preseason roaming as a left back in an ill-fated attempt to gain more playing time. This is a player that looks like he’s barely old enough to enter a rated R film.
That player is Jorge Flores, who after playing in the Chivas USA reserves last season, went off to shine in tournaments in Mexico, Argentina, and most recently, in England where he won most valuable player in a series of games against EPL youth teams. He did this while playing for the US national team and Chivas USA youth squad.
Possessing a skill level not seem in many on American soccer players, Flores combines speed, tenacity, and the aforementioned skill level and plays both midfield and forward. His goal against the Crew has to be Goal of the Week; I’m sure MLS or AEG will find a way to give to some other bigger profile team and that’s fine. We don’t want anybody to know about him. We’ll just fly under the radar. Perfect. In the meantime, I hate to say it but at this point in the season, Jorge Flores is the baddest teenager in the MLS, not Jozy Altidtore.
Much has been said and made about some Columbus’s racists taunts in their previous MLS game and I am happy to report that there no incidents of Nazism or banana throwing here in Carson. That being said, it was woefully pitiful to see what has happened to the once proud Legion Kalifas. This is the supporters group that made smoke bombs, giant overhead banners, and non-stop cheering, the staple of all Chivas USA games since day one.
Despite being absent from the last two home games (missed due to showing solidarity for a banned member), they came and went. Apparently, they were at again trying to start trouble with Home Depot Security and the Union Ultras. As a result, they were kindly shown the door out. The details of the incident remain unclear, but their actions in the last 3 weeks have spoken louder than any of their cheers. Supporters groups are the backbone of a team’s fan base, but they can also be a pain in the back if given too much freedom. Chivas USA has stepped up the security initiatives to prevent any violence or hooliganism.
These measures have been taken to secure a safer environment for all fans and thus, Chivas USA and Home Depot Security should be commended for the changes made after the Chivas-Galaxy game. Thanks.
People may come and go. Players may come and go. The Chivas USA fans keep coming and younger players keep coming, too. The kids are alright.