While the season hasn’t officially started, this examiner partook in his first road trip of the season. Back again for this season is this examiner's view of the match from the supporters section. New year, new title.
Riding down to San Diego in a van full of Goats supporters, Black Army 1850, it was as picturesque a day as any postcard sent from the state of California would show. And how fitting that it was the Goats taking on a Mexican 1st Division team that claims California as part of its target audience. This was the 2012 San Diego Clasico.
The Goats wouldn’t enter the fray alone, as over 70 supporters would make the trip down the I-5 (by way of the CA-73 toll) to support them. So close to Tijuana though (home of the Xoloitzcuintles) it was a foregone conclusion that is would be an away match. And so it was. Undeterred by the heavy show of support for Tijuana, the Black Army and Union Ultras drummed away and chanted. From a distance, Tijuana’s supporters group brought it as well. The sheer ferocity of their supporters group would make anyone think they were watching a regular season match up. Playing in a smaller venue in the form on Torero stadium definatley helped turn it into Estadio Caliente Norte that much quicker.
Advertisement The Goats supporters were showing that they were ready for the new season. Watching as Michael Lahoud scored for the 1st goal of the night, spirits couldn’t be and higher. Taking a 1-0 lead into halftime, things looked ok for Red and White. But this examiner knew that those numerous yellow cards accumulated in the first 45 minutes would hurt the team later. 5 minutes into the second half, it was confirmed as Goats newcomer, Miller Bolaños was sent off. No time to sulk, the support from the B.A. 1850 and the U.U. carried on. The character of a Soccer team is usually best described when they go down to 10 men. What goes through their minds? How do they adjust? As RSL showed last season in a 1-0 win over the Goats, going down to 10 isn’t the end of the world. But 5 goals later, the Goats showed they still have to get things in order. Rookie Casey Townsends goal late in the match was a brief was hopefully a glimpse into some of the good we can expect this season despite the days 5-2 loss.
At the end of the day, it’s still preseason. A great time was had by all who made the trip, and new friends were made. We all agreed that the team still has work to do, but are confident it’ll get done. That and this examiner got to watch his favorite Mexican team play as a bonus.
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By John Santos
No, this isn’t a Chivas vs. Chivas “Clasico”. This is about the upcoming international friendly between the United States National team (of which this examiner is a notorious homer of) and the Venezuelan National team (which is this examiner’s favorite CONMEBOL team, all political mumbo jumbo aside). Not since February of 2010 has an international fixture featured Goats on each side of the field.
For the Red, White, and Blue, we have Jack of all trade’s defender Heath Pearce. Left Back. Right Back, Center Back. As he showed last season with the Goats, you name it and he can line up anywhere along the back line. With only 20 players called up and being the most experienced defender, expect Pearce as the starting Left Back (a position he’s all too familiar with on the National team).
Advertisement For the “Vinotinto”, we have Alejandro Moreno. He’s coming off a 5 goal season and a year that saw him suit up at the prestigious Copa America. Moreno should get the start for this encounter. However with a call up of 35 players, expect Moreno to split duties up top with fellow MLSer, Emilio Renteria (Crew) and possibly one of their U-20’s.
As for who wins this, it’s anyone’s guess. Neither team is coming at full strength and relying heavily on their respective domestic leagues to fill their teams. With that said, this examiner predicts a 1-1 draw. Goals will be scored by who else, Heath Pearce and Alejandro Moreno.
The match will take place at the University of Phoenix Stadium, in Glendale, Arizona on January 21st. Kickoff is scheduled to be at 7pm MST/6pm PST. No TV has been announced, but expect local Over the Air channel, Telefutura 46 to carry the match in Español.
James Riley comes to the Goats after three successful years up in Seattle. It’s true; the 29 year old John Legend impersonator is not a world beater. However with Michael Lahoud a midfielder by trade, Mariano Trujillo’s dip in form that has sent him to the bench, and Zarek Valetin’s (more on him in a bit) inexperience in the pro ranks, Riley provides a stable presence at the Right Back position. In his three years with Seattle, he was a consistent starter. I don’t have to post all the stats here, but if I did, they would point to a player that is something that’s desperately needed on the backline.
And now for the goings. Earlier this season, it was mentioned to me that there were rumblings that the Front Office and Justin Braun weren’t on good terms. Speculation ran rampant amongst the team supporters that with Jesse Marsch at the helm in Montreal, Braun would be left unprotected in the expansion draft. As was seen, the Goats did no such thing. Rather than let Braun go, they got something in return. And while some may cry foul about Gerson Mayen being sent away with Braun, let’s be honest, he was never going to get a fair shake with the Goats. For all the talk about his potential, he’d been here since 2008. In the 3 years since setting foot in the first team, hardly anything came from him. Sure he had a nice pass here and there, but that was it. And he certainly didn’t set the world a blaze while away on loan. So to get Riley in exchange for an allegedly disgruntled employee and a spare part, I say it was a great deal.
Advertisement As for Zarek Valentin, he had his moments. But for every moment he had, he also suffered blunders. It’s not entirely his fault though. The management shouldn’t have put such a burden on a 19-year old. While it’s obvious that Valentin has potential, the Goats needed results now. So the best possible move for both Valentin and the Goats was for him to be selected by Montreal and for the Goats to be rid of his $132,000 salary for next season (please do something nice with that saved money Mr. Domene).
Add to Riley the acquisition of former Sporting KC midfielder Ryan Smith, and the Goats seem to be doing ok so far this offseason. Still though there is still a ways to go before next season. With a few diamonds in the rough in next year’s college draft, and next month’s re-entry draft, expect more shake ups for the Goats.
Goats related predictions for the 2012 MLS season
-First and foremost, as the Mayan prophecies aren’t supposed to happen till December of next year, we will indeed have a 2012 MLS Season.
-Bofo (Former Mexican National Team/Guadalajara member) will be rumored to show up at Chivas USA yet again. Despite barely playing an hour off Soccer all of last season at Queretaro someone will say that he is what Chivas USA desperately needs and that he can singlehandedly lead the team to the promise land.
-The Goats will pass up yet another great prospect (George John, Graham Zusi, Joao Plata, a Farfan brother, CJ Sapong anyone?) in the MLS SuperDraft and settle for less, but hope for the best.
-The neighbors will once again send their sloppy seconds to Chivas USA. Not gonna say who, but we’ll see it coming a mile away.
Advertisement -Chivas USA will win the Superclasico series ending 5 years of frustration. Having built up a good amount of sloppy seconds, they’ll know all of the neighbor’s secrets. Hmm, guess those sloppy seconds can still taste good. Yummy!!!!
-The Goats will continue not to win in Seattle (those 0-0 ties have been exciting though). Speaking of Seattle, they will not get the United States National team to pay them a visit either. Sorry guys, but as has been proven in our neck of the woods (in combination with the neighbors), club support doesn’t equal national support. And even then our last three US matches have outdrawn your weak showing at the 2009 CONCACAF Gold Cup. And don’t give me that “it was only Grenada” talk. If you care about something you’ll go see it regardless.
-While this examiner continues upsetting Seattle, Chivas USA may not win a regular season match up there, but they’ll take the Starfire Open Cup. After recording over 30 saves in a 0-0 draw over 120 minutes, Zach Thornton will make the 1st three stops in the penalty shootout while Chris Cortez, Victor Estupiñian and Alejandro Moreno score all of theirs.
-Dan Kennedy will be away with the US National team that week of the Starfire Open Cup Final
-The Black Army and Union Ultras Supporters groups will both grow in size. But the Powers that be at Chivas USA will still make them pay for their own tickets to the away match against the neighbors, while the neighbors landlords (yes, they have them, but they never talk about them) will pay for their fans to attend our home match.
-Knowing that 30+ year old Manchester United players can still pay dividends on and off the field; Chivas USA will begin making overtures towards Ji-Sung Park who will be in the last year of his contract. Knowing full well that our corner of the world has the largest Korean population outside of the Korean peninsula, the Goats will slowly but surely lure Mr. Park.
-Early in the year, ground will break on Corona Stadium at the Fairplex (hey, it’s better than Santa Ana). The stadium will be ready to go in 2013 along with new signee, Ji-Sung Park. Now about those Mayan prophecies…
Another offseason looms......
Alas, none of that is to be.
Like last season, it'll soon be time for us to go our seperate ways for the Winter. And then come back again in the Spring. But not before "traveling away" to face our neighbors, and "returning home" to close out the season against the three time US Open Cup Champions, Seattle Sounders. 3 trophies in 3 years, how long has Chivas USA been in MLS?
Advertisement Sorry about that, I was falling into "rant" mode. Anyways.
So whether our playoff dreams died today, or last month, the point I'm trying to make is that we as supporters are still here. While some may support more than others, at the end of the day we all pulled our weight and did our part.
So if any player is by some miracle reading this, I want you to know that we stood by you all season long. You are an extension of each and everyone of us when you don the red and white. Thanks for going out there and entertaining us. Thank you for your smiles, autographs, high fives, jokes, jerseys, photo ops, and for leaving it all out on the field day in day out. Sure, sometimes you frustrated us. But let it be know that we got frustrated because we care. We care about what you do and what happens to you. We'll be back here again next season too. So try not to miss us too much when you go on break.
If by some miracle someone at the front office is reading this, GET OFF THE COMPUTER!!! You have a three week head start to start scouting for the few missing pieces we need to take this team and make it a contender. That's what made many of us in the stands so frustrated: knowing that this team was capapble of so much more. Now go forth into the world and get those few missing pieces to get the team off and running. And not stopping untill it reaches the 2012 MLS Cup trophy (and the 2012 US Open Cup as well while you are at it).
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Chivas...more USA than you would think: Heath Pearce, Part 3...
Up first was Honduras at the Home Depot Center. If not for a Jimmy Conrad red card early on, the match might have had a different outcome. However, 10 vs. 11 (while unfortunate) gives the coach a chance see how players deal with added pressure. And while not a starter, Pearce did come in during the second half. But with the US down 3-0, and Honduras content with the result, there was not much to do on defense.
A month later against El Salvador though, Pearce played the entire match at left back and was very active on offense. Setting up players throughout the course of the match, his precise cross in the 75th minute found Brian Ching for the equalizer (the US was down 1-0). His efforts on the day earned him a trip to Holland the following week with the 1st team to take on the Netherlands. However he only came on in the last 20 minutes with the US down 2-0 (the US would lose 2-1). While his play during the MLS regular season got him on the 30-man preliminary roster for the World Cup, he was one of the 7 dropped when the official 23-man roster was submitted to FIFA (interestingly enough two former Goats made the roster). A recall in October of last year saw him go 45 minutes in a scoreless draw vs. Colombia.
Advertisement With that, it seemed Pearce might have seen his last camp. But with a new coach for the US National team in Jürgen Klinsman looking for different ideas in defense, Pearce saw himself recalled to the fray for the first time in nearly a year. And while he didn’t get on to the field in the 1-1 draw vs. Mexico, he was able to display his abilities to the new coach first hand.
“I think if you asked every player here, they’d have an interest of playing for the national team,” stated Pearce on mlssoccer.com. “Obviously, Klinsman is an accomplished player and coach as well so he’ll be a great addition to US Soccer, and there is potential to do great things under him.”
Continue reading on Examiner.com Chivas...more USA than you would think: Heath Pearce, Part 3... - Los Angeles Chivas USA | Examiner.com http://www.examiner.com/chivas-usa-in-los-angeles/chivas-more-usa-than-you-would-think-heath-pearce-part-3#ixzz1VI9VQuaz
The following month saw the script flipped as the US travelled down to El Salvador for the next World Cup Qualifier. Where many had predicted a cakewalk for the US, they found themselves down 1-0, 15 minutes into the match. The US looked outplayed throughout long stretches of the match and would eventually go down 2-0 with less than 20 minutes remaining.
Advertisement Even though they were able to mount a comeback and finish at 2-2, the match itself had left a bad mark on the defensive line. Particularly on Peace, who was dropped from the starting lineup. While he did make the roster for that years Confederations Cup team, he did not see a second of action as the US went on to finish 2nd in the tournament.
With the 2009 CONCACAF Gold Cup though, Pearce was thrown a lifeline. Being scheduled to start only days after the end of the Confederations Cup, most of the US 1st team was given time off. As he was well rested to begin with, he was named to the roster for the tournament where he would participate in 5 out of 6 matches as a starter on route to the Final. Unfortunately, the Gold Cup Final was marred in a devastating 5-0 loss to Mexico. Pearce would go on to sit out the rest of the year.
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Continue reading on Examiner.com Chivas...more USA than you would think: Heath Pearce, Part 2... - Los Angeles Chivas USA | Examiner.com http://www.examiner.com/chivas-usa-in-los-angeles/chivas-more-usa-than-you-would-think-heath-pearce-part-2#ixzz1Uh2ps7AD
So far, Pearce has represented the USA 32 times. Credits: Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images Chivas...more USA than you would think: Heath Pearce, Part 1...
Heath Pearce is no stranger to the US National team. Having made his debut in late 2005, Pearce made a push to be included in the 2006 FIFA World Cup team. Despite 5 caps in the lead up, the Modesto, California native would not be chosen by then Coach Bruce Arena to go to Germany. However, when Bob Bradley became the man in charge of the US National team in 2007, he looked to Heath Pearce to fill in at Left Back. While he featured briefly in Bob Bradley’s first match (which also featured Jonathan Bornstein scoring his first international goal, and Jimmy Conrad as team captain) his first real test on defense would come later in the summer. No, Pearce didn’t make the Gold Cup team, but rather the 2007 CONMEBOL Copa America team. While the team went 3 and out (along with Sacha Kljestan) Pearce got the start in the final group match vs. Colombia going the full 90. From there on, Pearce earned 3 more caps (vs. Brazil, Switzerland and South Africa) to finish out the year. With 10 caps under his belt as 2007 came to a close, a ride full of peaks and valleys awaited as the road to the 2010 FIFA World Cup began the following year.
Advertisement 2008 began with a March trip to Poland. Looking to solidify his spot on the team, Pearce went 85 minutes in a 3-0 shutout over the hosts. Having earned another opportunity to display his skills, he started and went the distance at famed Wembley Stadium vs. England. The outing didn’t go as planned as the US was played off the field in a 2-0 loss. A few days later, Pearce once again suited up for the length of the match as the US lost to Spain 1-0 on a late goal by Xavi. By week’s end, the US found itself going up against Argentina (who was ranked #1 in the world at the time). While Pearce didn’t go all the way, his 78 minutes on the field helped keep the Albiceleste at bay for a 0-0 draw. As the match concluded, so too did final preparations for the 2010 FIFA World Cup Qualifying campaign that would start the following week. Would he make the cut and go on that journey?
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My day with the Black Army by y2santos on Jul 31, 2011 5:49 PM PDT
This story relates to the events leading up to the Chivas USA vs. San Jose Earthquakes match from July 6th.
Arriving from a previous engagement in which the Sweden beat the United States to close out the 1st round of the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup,lot 6 appeared to be a ghost town. Fortunately a dedicated supporter from Las Vegas had arrived earlier. And within a couple of minutes, flags andbanners had arrived. No sooner than they had arrived, it was off to the stadium to set up. A first, I was eager to help.
As the rolls of painters tape used to hold up the banners slowly turned into cardboard rings, the southeast corner of the Home Depot Center turned into the Black Army's home staging ground. Banners go a long way in supporters culture. They are the first impression of the group that the casuals at the stadium get when entering. Make it a good one, and they will remember it far after the match is over. The smaller individual banners spread about the corner can also tell the casuals a little bit about the members. From KISS to Bob Marley, and from Hope Solo, to the State of California, it's obvious that within this group there is an intense, yet relaxing outlook on life and soccer, as well as a high amount of civic and state pride.
No supporters section is complete until the flags are in place though. When it comes to flags, the Black Army carries quite the variety. From black/white and red/white pattern flags (some reminiscent of the Polish flag), California state flags, and flags from the American Revolution, there is a flag for nearly every occasion. None more so poignant than the US flag with Rainbow stripes that I found myself waiving for most of the second half.
Upon finishing, it was back out to lot 6 and await further arrivals. Little by little more and more of the Black Army arrived. By kickoff everyone who would be there, was there and ready to support the Goats. The match itself could have had a better 1st half, but considering the goals by Ben Zemanski and Nick LaBrocca in the 2nd half to end the match, it can be looked over.
With a motto of "Solamente Chivas USA", this strong and determined bunch, known as the Black Army has become a fixture at home matches and plans to figure into Chivas USA's plans for years to come.
More frustration, All Stars, and more relocation speculation
While Mr. Backe may not have been looking towards Dan Kennedy, he was paying attention to both Goats Left Back Heath Pearce, and Goats Midfielder Nick LaBrocca. This is a historic first for the Chivas USA organization. While the likes of Ante Razov (2006), Jonathan Bornstein (2007,2008,2010), and Zach Thornton (2009) have made the All Star Game roster as Goats in the past, two members of the team have never represented the Goats during the same year. As members of the 2011 MLS All Star Team, they will now suit up and take part in the midsummer classic that will see them face off against Manchester United on July 27th.
Last week this examiner made mention of places in Los Angeles County where he would like to see the Goats move to based on Antonio Cue's commnets. With that said, here’s another speculative pick for Chivas USA’s potential new stadium:
As a graduate of California State University Long Beach, it goes without saying how biased this round of speculation might sound. But listen up. As the 7th largest city in the state with a population of over 400,000 (yes I looked it up on Wikipedia, but I trust its accuracy), Long Beach is a city that could very well stand it ground and support a major sports franchise (yes, MLS franchises are major indeed). But where in Long Beach could the Goats set up shop? Could they look into purchasing a large block of land at El Dorado State Park? In our dreams maybe, but the location would be a good one as it would still be in LA County, but (literally) a stone’s throw away from Orange County. The 405, 605, and 22 could help in bringing people in, but public transit wise it would be a lot more difficult as there are no trains of the sort to take people there. Moving on though, where then?
Advertisement How about Downtown Long Beach? First and foremost, Metro’s Blue Line train services the area with 4 stations. What’s that? Tear down the Long Beach Arena and build a new stadium right there? The cool ocean breeze. Shops. Bars. Restaurants. The 710 terminus. Accessible public transit between Metro’s Blue Line and the LBT (Long Beach Transit). All within walking distance. But, while the “Corona Stadium at the Waterfront” has a nice ring to it, it might be easier said than done. For starters, the mural painted all over the Arena could be a hurdle in tearing it down. A potential PR battle would await the organization. Perhaps Mr. Vergara and Mr. Cue would be willing to pay for a similar mural to spread across the new stadium? Some could argue that if one can’t tear the arena down, then there is ample room next to it. Of course building in that area would cost some their “beach front” property. It would be another potential PR battle. And being so close to the beach, you know the environmentalists would be out in full force.
But this is my wish list. So bring on the art lovers, property owners, and tree huggers. Downtown Long Beach by the waterfront would be an ideal location for Chivas USA’s new home