Last Sunday marked the first “Clásico” for Chelís at the helm of the Rebaño Gringo, and for the first time since the Preki years, the players played this game the way a clásico should be played. It was to the point where our adversary complained over the aggressive game of our players, although in reality, our neighbors are just accustomed to us playing with resignation and without getting our hands dirty.
This time, our team came out aggressively and sent a clear message that it made no difference that they were playing their rival, and that they were going to play to the bitter end for their team and for their colors. This is a game in which we lived with intensity and passion, which was demonstrated in the stands.
For us, as a Supporters’ Group, this is one of the most important games for various reasons. However, from my perspective, the most important motive is having the opportunity to stop being the laughingstock of the league on the pitch, because at least in section 101, the effort, endurance, and passion displayed by the Union Ultras definitely defeats and outperforms that of our neighbors’.
The game, as I stated before, was literally a battle of statistics, in which it shows that Chivas committed 22 fouls, while our neighbors only committed 8 fouls. This is quite funny, since it was obvious that they easily committed more than 8 fouls and should have had a man ejected, which is ironic since we ended up playing with 10 men without a legitimate explanation and with a lame excuse. The referee, or the 12th player of the neighbors (whatever floats your boat), ejected Joaquín Velázquez in the 40th min on a play in which the rival player should have been given a yellow for tackling Velázquez or at least for embellishment. The “referee’s” tendencies were so obvious that he resolved a brutal play with a simple yellow for one of the neighbors players, when it should have a been a straight red and jail for his foul play.
Due to the ejection, Chivas was forced to make several substitutions and it seemed that destiny wanted it to occur before the end of the 1st half. Without hesitation, Chelís sent Carlos Borja onto the field to cover the position Velázquez left after his ejection, and continued with the 3 man backline he started with since the beginning of the match. But before all this occurred, it seemed that fate was going to be unkind to us yet again, since in the 18th min, Oswaldo Minda left the game with a hamstring injury, and in his place came the young Salvadoran Marvin Iraheta.
The start of the 2nd half came with the debut of a young man born in East Los Angeles named Carlos Alvarez. A player’s professional debut is always a great satisfaction, especially if it occurs in a Clásico. For Carlos, his debut for his beloved team was a dream come true that came with many complications: Playing against the reigning MLS champion with a man less for one full half. No easy task.
Carlos Alvarez arrived with Chivas USA from the 2013 MLS SuperDraft, which took place in Indianapolis, Indiana. Even before he was picked #2 overall by the Red and White, he did not think twice in openly saying that it was his dream to represent the Rojiblancos, since his family was 100% Chiva. By the way, his family was present at such an important game for Carlos.
The game was played with our neighbor pushing forward with everything and Chivas fighting to the death. With the passing minutes, you could see our neighbor playing with desperation, surprised and incapable of penetrating, since they weren’t used to playing against a Chivas team so relentless and that never put their heads down.
Unfortunately for our team, our sworn enemy scored on us in the 83rd min. This goal, for the moment, wiped away our hopes of celebrating and putting aside so many bad moments lived during these games. Despite the score being 1-0 in favor of our rival, the Ultras did not stop encouraging and we gave extra effort to convey this message to our team: They were not alone and that they should keep fighting with their heads high.
The effort of our players was rewarded in the 89th min, and like a work directly from the Holy Spirit and destiny, the goal was scored by none other than Carlos Alvarez, this player who came in as a substitute eager to make his MLS debut, with an assist coming from Carlos Borja, a player that, by fate and destiny, also came in as a substitute.
The goal was scored after a great play from Eric Avila, who was able to filter a pass to Borja, while being surrounded by five enemy players. The instant he received the pass, Borja crossed the ball to Carlos Alvarez so he could attend his appointment with destiny and give us the tying goal.
The tie was accompanied by a mixture of passions, happiness, incredulity, hope, and fight, a total ecstasy. It was a goal written by destiny for this new era with Chelís and his Rebaño Gringo, a goal that put many on the verge of crying tears of joy from seeing Carlos Alvarez’s father crying from happiness. The beautiful gesture made to us by the fates is priceless, since it hasn’t been too kind to us in the past few games against our neighbor.
In the stands, our Supporters’ Group was going crazy, especially after receiving a special gift of gratitude and appreciation made by the young debutant goalscorer. Upon scoring the goal, Carlos Alvarez ran to our section to celebrate with the Ultras and give us back the pride and hope we’ve been deprived of for far too long. It was a great satisfaction to see the baffled faces of the rival fans, who only show their support when their team is winning, otherwise it’s like an empty stadium the moment things are not to their liking. Why bother having so many fans if they do not support? The majority of them do not even have the slightest idea as to what is a soccer team, or an idea on how to support a team in the bad times and despite everything that happens.
This game resurrected the value and importance of the “Clásico” that was practically left for dead, but I assure you that the next game will see both the fans and the players of our rival wanting vengeance for the shame that our team put them through.
I know that the season is young and that it was only a tie and that many things can happen, but it’s been awhile since I’ve seen our team so relentless and with high hopes and desire of obtaining the three points against the Galaxy. This team transmits a very good vibe and whether they are pears or apples, like Chelís said: “We won only 1 point, but in respect, we earned 100.”
Until next time. We’ll see what the new era with Chelís and his Rebaño Gringo will bring us.
By El Chiva Mayor.
Translated by Richard I. Escutia, aka El Dragon