CARSON, Calif. – Three weeks into the MLS season, Chivas USA manager José Luis "El Chelís" Sánchez Solá’s postgame press conferences have become events within themselves.
On Sunday, following a dramatic 1-1 draw with the LA Galaxy, Chelís’ session with reporters was theatrical. The animated coach asked media members his own questions. He sang, stood and wondered out loud about defender Joaquín Velázquez’s red card without worry of potential repercussions.
“Joaquín Velázquez is not wanted by this league,” Chelís said. “Since the start, the league hasn’t wanted him. … At the third game, he’s already a marked player because he’s not a player of this league. He’s not a player from the New York dispatch.”
Velázquez, 37, was whistled for two fouls in the opener against the Columbus Crew, and committed a foul prior to being sent off late in the first half for a tackle on Galaxy midfielder Colin Clark that head referee Ricardo Salazar deemed as “serious foul play.” Afterward, Clark told a reporter he didn’t believe the foul deserved a red card.
And although Chelís claimed he does not want to be seen as the league’s designated jokester, using the term “jester,” he has drawn plenty of laughs during three sessions in the Home Depot Center conference room. Upon entering the room Sunday, a smiling Chelís raised his arms and asked, “What’s wrong? Did someone die? Why is everyone so sad?”
About midway through the eight-minute press conference, Chelís momentarily got up from his seat to address a question about Galaxy manager Bruce Arena.
“I get on my feet for him, he’s seen many more soccer matches than I have,” Chelís said before sitting back down.
Later, in reference to his club’s progression, Chelís sang a few lines of “Si Nos Dejan,” the well-known hit of famous Mexican singer José Alfredo Jiménez. The title of the song translates in English to “If They Let Us.”
To top it all off, Chelís said he did not care about earning the crucial point in the Western Conference standings.
“It has never mattered to me,” he said. “If I have never cared about winning championships, I care about this point less. What I care about is how my players are feeling right now and how much they honor their careers as professional soccer players. I’ll vouch for any of them.
"In the little time I’ve known them, I’m sure they will be great human beings once they are done with their soccer careers. They are an honest group with low quality. They have low quality, but an honesty to do what they like. They are stupendous.”