Saturday, August 13, 2005

Who's hating Chivas USA?

Over at, Luis Bueno calls into question(reg required) some of ESPN2's play-by-play man Eric Wynalda's feelings about Chivas USA. Basically his take on why Wynalda does not like Chivas is that he sees them as representing Mexico and as a former USA national team player, he can't like America's biggest local rival.

Although I agree with Bueno that Wynalda does seem to have some issues with Chivas, I'm not so sure that his feelings are directly related to national pride. I cannot claim to know anything about Wynalda's thought process, but I would not be that surprise if his opinion of Chivas was tainted more by the way they treated the league before the start of the season.

Chivas USA is an offshoot of Mexican club Chivas Guadalajara. When the roaster was being put together for the USA team, head coach Hans Westerhof was not allowed to take any of Chivas Guadalajara's best players. Now there are many good reasons behind this decision, but one of them seems to be that the Chivas franchise thought they would be able to win in the MLS with second tier players. If this is true, it is a major insult to MLS.

But does this excuse comments by Wynalda that strongly suggest Chivas USA plays dirty soccer? No. I've watched Chivas play about 12 matches and they do not seem to be any sneaker then any other club. I do think they are one of the more physical clubs in the MLS, but not so physical that they are endangering players.

There is one other thing I must bring up about Bueno's article. He writes:

"Torres was the victim of another anti-Chivas USA blast in Saturday's match with Real Salt Lake, billed as a game that could feature the league's 5,000th goal. Torres scored the first goal of the 2-1 loss, the 4,999th in league history. Wynalda commented: 'No one's going to remember that goal.'"

Not to defend Wynalda, but when I heard him say that, I did not think he was trying to say anything about the goal that was just scored or the team that scored it. Instead, I think he was just trying to build excitement for the 5,000th. It was a little harsh to suggest that no one will remember a goal since most players remember every goal they scored, but I don't think he was being mean.

All and all, I do agree that Wynalda does seem to dislike Chivas; I'm just not sure what the reasons are behind it. Let me throw out a crazy possibility, he was attacked by a goat as a kid (for those who might be new to soccer, the goats are Chivas's nickname). Who knows, maybe I'm on to something.


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