There were plenty of big smiles in the Chivas USA locker room after the team’s first win of the season on Saturday afternoon, but none was bigger than that of Martín Vásquez.
The 2-0 victory over the New York Red Bulls was Vásquez’s first as the head coach of Chivas USA. He glowed as he took the microphone for the postgame press conference.
“I have to relax a little bit,” he admitted to the press corps. “I’m a little emotional right now because of the win.”
It’s hard not to root for the guy. Here’s a coach who genuinely cares about his players and about his team. Who helped build the club from the ground up during its first three seasons and who wants to see it succeed.
A guy who’s willing to repeat himself word for word during press conferences—once in English and once in Spanish—just to make sure every person in the room understands what he’s saying.
A guy to get behind. A guy to believe in. A guy to celebrate when he gets his first career win.
“This win feels great,” Vásquez told MLSsoccer.com later in the evening. “It feels that way because the guys finally get rewarded for all the hard work they do during the week. We lost the first two games, but we came out today and it’s a difficult situation and our team responded.”
Vásquez picked a good day for his first win. In attendance at Saturday’s match were Antonio Cue, the team’s primary investor, and Efraín Flores, the sports director for Chivas de Guadalajara, Saprissa and Chivas USA.
“They’re here because they want to see the team do well,” said Vásquez. “After telling them, ‘It’s going to come. Be patient. We’re going to keep working,’ it finally comes and they’re here. That makes it even more special.”
Vásquez won’t have too long to celebrate. Chivas USA leave for the team’s first road trip of the season this weekend, a daunting visit to face the Houston Dynamo. The Goats have never won at Robertson Stadium.
“We’re going to prepare the same way that we’ve been preparing the team for every game,” Vásquez said. “We need to keep improving those little details so that we go forward and put our chances away, and then we can play defense and be solid tactically. That what’s it going to take to get a win.”