Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Mexican Standoff: Chivas USA vs. Blanco

The Blanco-led Chicago Fire meet Chivas USA in Los Angeles on Saturday, which could be a precursor to a tasty, internationally flavored first-round Major League Soccer playoff matchup. If the season ended today (doncha love that phrase?) Chivas, currently holding first-place in the West, would face Chicago, currently clinging to the eighth and final postseason slot.

The odds of Chivas securing the top spot are good, since the secondary tenant of the Home Depot Center has two points and a game in hand on its nearest rival, Houston. The Fire are in a more precarious situation, just one point up on Columbus (who have a dark promotion on tap) and three points up on Colorado, but the Windy City club are two-points behind the Rapids in the highly-scientific Puppy to Giants Ratio. Additionally, should the Fire and Rapids end in a tie, the first tie-breaker (head-to-head) is a wash, due to a pair of ... guess what? ... regular season draws, and the second tie-breaker favors Colorado with a two-point goal differential edge.

Now that we've dispensed with the various playoff probabilities, let's examine the potential Chivas USA vs. Blanco first-round clash. The question is, who will Mexican fans (both here in the Good Ol' USA and South of the Border) support? Does their loyalty lie with the USA version of The Goats, or with the talismanic, charismatic, hunchbacked striker called Cuauhtemoc Blanco?

This not to suggest that All Mexicans Think Alike. Recent cinematic triumphs alone demonstrate the robust, diverse nature of our Latino Cousins South of the Rio Grande. Seriously, have you seen Pan's Labyrinth, Children of Men or From Dusk Till Dawn? Even the cheating, cheapshot, Mexican National Team, (formerly known as El Tricolor until Hugo Sanchez went clinically insane) while infuriating, are a compelling assortment of contradictions. Whether it's the simmering, regal Jared Borgetti or the flashy, precocious Giovani dos Santos, you gotta love to hate the no-longer Tricolor.

No, what we're getting at is how will the Mexican fans react to a Chivas USA-Blanco elimination battle? Columnist Nick Green has a nice primer on the issue including the Club America and CD Guadalajara rivalry and the participation of not only "El Cuau" but Chivas USA defender Claudio Suarez in a potential Chivas USA-Fire showdown. Unsavory aspects of the attempted relocation of Chivas and Mexican support to Los Angeles in the form of Chivas USA aside, will Blanco be booed at the Home Depot Center or cheered?

This reminds us of a diehard Glasgow Celtic fan, who also passionately supports the US Men's National Team, the squad representing his adopted country. This guy loves DaMarcus Beasley and complained bitterly when Bruce Arena tossed him under the bus in Germany 2006. But now that DaMarcus plays for Rangers, what's he to do? It bears watching how Mexican fans respond if and when Old Country rivalries pop up in Major League Soccer's first-round of the Western Conference playoffs.

  • And now, from YouTube, our favorite Mexican Standoffs:

    True Romance | Reservoir Dogs | Pulp Fiction | Jon Stewart
    And the Godfather of Them All: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
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