Red-and-White Monday: Versatility
Mondays are normally pretty terrible, but they've gotten way better here in LA since mid-March, when the MLS season started and Chivas USA began the current undefeated streak. Now I get to meet Galaxy fans at the water cooler and say things like:
'You're still winless, huh? But I thought you had that guy who was supposed to score all those goals? Langdon something? That's too bad. Yeah, we won again. No big deal. So we're in first place. In the whole league. By four points. After five games.'
Things get more difficult now, as Chivas USA has a stretch of three games in eight days. The first one went well (welcome to MLS, Sounders FC!), but now the team has to play a mid-week game in an ENTIRELY DIFFERENT COUNTRY, at Toronto FC. Then the Red-and-White come home to face FC Dallas next Saturday.
It'll be tough. But so far this year, the Red-and-White are 2-0 against teams with 'FC' in their name, so I think we'll be okay. See you Saturday night!
Where we remember that Chivas USA plays in Tinseltown's backyard.
Best Actor (the Man of the Match): Carey Talley
Talley was once again stellar this weekend, even though he's playing a new position this season; central defense. C-Tal's versatility is amazing - he's like one of those character actors that shows up in all kinds of movies, playing totally different roles, and when you see his name in the credits, you're like, 'oh yeah, it's that guy!'
I get the sense that if Preki were like, 'look, Carey, the Lakers had an injury. Los Angeles is going to need you to play power forward against the Utah Jazz tonight,' that he'd say 'sure thing, Coach,' and then earn a triple-double and go 5-for-6 from three-point-land.
That's versatility, folks.
Best Supporting Actor (the guy you might not have noticed): Preki
Through five games, Chivas USA has four wins and a draw. That's 13 points from the first 15 available! The man responsible is Preki, who puts a different lineup out each week and keeps getting results. He gets the 'Best Supporting Actor' award this week because I don't want to make a 'Best Director' category, and then keep giving it to Preki over and over again.
Before this season, people around the league had probably never heard of Gerson Mayen, Bojan Stepanovic, and Chukwudi Chijindu. Most coaches would be afraid to use a trio like that, mostly because their names are impossible to pronounce. But that group has two goals and four assists so far this year. Preki is like a Serbian Martin Scorsese; all his choices end up working.
The Villain (the thing from the match that we love to hate): Global Warming
Choosing villains is really hard when Chivas USA keeps winning. Plus, it's not easy to be mad at Seattle when they actually scored the game-winning goal on themselves. So this week I'll go with Global Warming, since it's been really hot in LA the last few days. Boooo, global warming!
Oscar Moment (what you'll remember from this game): The Return of Chuckie
A quick timeline: In the 56th minute, Chukwudi Chijindu enters the match for Eduardo Lillingston. In the 82nd minute, he almost scores the most audacious goal in MLS history, doing some sort of weird summersault and volleying the ball with his calf, or something. It went just wide. Then, in minute 84, he scores his first professional goal. Not a bad night.
Where we take a look around the league and see who's in position to take the glory
1) Chivas USA
This is like picking a bear to win in a match against a salmon. Not a difficult choice.
13) (TIE) Chicago, Colorado, Columbus, D.C., Houston, Kansas City, LA, New England, New York, Salt Lake, San Jose, Seattle
It's getting a little sad how far back the rest of the league is from the Red-and-White. Guys! Try to keep up!
14) (TIE) Dallas and Toronto
They played against each other this past weekend, and even though Dallas won, I wasn't impressed with either team. Chivas USA is about to knock them both out, starting with Toronto on the road on Wednesday, then FC Dallas back at The Home Depot Center next Saturday night.
Get your ticket to watch the destruction! 1-877-CHIVAS-1 or Chivas USA Ticket Center.
Red-and-White Monday runs each week on cdchivasusa.com. Views and opinions expressed in this column are the author's, and not necessarily those of Chivas USA, Major League Soccer, or their respective websites. Send any questions and comments to the author at ChivasMonday@gmail.com.