A WORLD APART L.A.'S PRO SOCCER TEAMS SHARE THE SAME HOME FIELD, BUT THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE GALAXY AND CHIVAS USA COULDN'T BE MORE PRONOUNCED.
Byline: BILLY WITZ
This summer, David Beckham Editing of this page by unregistered or newly registered users is currently disabled due to vandalism. will arrive in Los Angeles Los Angeles (lôs ăn`jələs, lŏs, ăn`jəlēz'), city (1990 pop. 3,485,398), seat of Los Angeles co., S Calif.; inc. 1850. , bringing with him swerving free kicks, a pop star wife, a platoon of paparazzi pa·pa·raz·zo
n. pl. pa·pa·raz·zi
A freelance photographer who doggedly pursues celebrities to take candid pictures for sale to magazines and newspapers. and international press and -- the Galaxy hopes -- an entry into the mainstream of the major league sports and entertainment world.
Antonio Cue considered this on a recent evening as he overlooked three soccer fields in Bell Gardens, where a dozen groups of boys, ages 6 to 14, were running through drills, and a team of high school-aged boys in the red-and-white striped jerseys of Chivas were carving up a college-aged squad from Coachella Valley Coachella Valley (kō'əchĕl`ə), arid region, SE Calif., N of the Salton Sea. Water is brought into the region by artesian wells and by the Coachella Canal (123 mi/198 km long), a branch of the All-American Canal built between 1938 and .
"My Beckham is out there," said Cue, co-owner and president of Chivas USA, motioning toward the fields and the participants in the club's youth program.
"Out of these kids, there should be David Beckhams, or players like Oswaldo (Sanchez) and Ramon Morales (who have starred for Chivas de Guadalajara and the Mexican national team) -- players that are icons."
As the two Major League Soccer clubs go about selling soccer in Los Angeles, their approach is as different as the way they've gone looking for Looking for
In the context of general equities, this describing a buy interest in which a dealer is asked to offer stock, often involving a capital commitment. Antithesis of in touch with. a star.
Or act locally.
Los Angeles has a long history of intra-city rivalries, often with the participants carrying neatly juxtaposing identities. Never, though, has the delineation been so distinct as it is in soccer.
The Galaxy and Chivas USA share a hallway, a parking lot and a playing field at Home Depot The Home Depot (NYSE: HD) is an American retailer of home improvement and construction products and services.
Headquartered in Vinings, just outside Atlanta in unincorporated Cobb County, Georgia, Home Depot employs more than 355,000 people and operates 2,164 big-box Center, but little else.
The divergence starts with language, English in one office and Spanish in the other, and cuts through virtually all aspects of the franchises -- how the clubs are marketed (AYSO AYSO American Youth Soccer Organization
AYSO All Your Saturdays Occupied
AYSO Alabama Youth Soccer Organization
AYSO Albuquerque Youth Soccer Organization (Albuquerque, New Mexico) vs. La Familia This article is about the Polish political party. For other uses, see Familia (disambiguation).
Familia ("The Family," from the Romain familia ), how they are put together (MLS' highest payroll vs. its lowest), how they play the game (athleticism vs. skill), how they create atmosphere at the stadium (engineered vs. organic) and how the organizations are run (corporate vs. seat-of-the- pants).
It extends right down to the beer their fans prefer: Heineken for the Galaxy, according to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. one vendor, Tecate for Chivas.
When the teams meet on the field, as they will today in front of a capacity crowd, the so-called "Super Classico" looks less like a rivalry than a clash of cultures.
"We do our own thing. They do their thing," Galaxy president Alexi Lalas Panayotis Alexander (Alexi) Lalas (born June 1 1970, Birmingham, Michigan) is a former Greek-American soccer defender, who became one of the most famous soccer players in the United States after he played in the 1994 FIFA World Cup. said. "Ultimately, when it's put in front of people's faces, we like to think we come out on top more often than not because we have a better quality on and off the field."
Said Cue: "We both play soccer, but that's the only thing we have in common. It's a tale of two cities A Tale of Two Cities (1859) is the second historical novel by Charles Dickens. The plot centres on the years leading up to the French Revolution and culminates in the Jacobin Reign of Terror. ."
Open the door to Chivas' headquarters and dominating the room are several large workstations where employees can look across at each other. They are surrounded by offices with large glass windows whose doors are mostly open -- including one stocked with Adj. 1. stocked with - furnished with more than enough; "rivers well stocked with fish"; "a well-stocked store"
furnished, equipped - provided with whatever is necessary for a purpose (as furniture or equipment or authority); "a furnished apartment"; replica trophies of Chivas de Guadalajara triumphs.
"Why would you have walls?" asked Cue, who helped design the space. "Everybody should have the privilege to work with each other, to see each other, to feel as important as everyone else in the company."
Take 35 paces down a narrow hallway through the bowels of the Home Depot Center, turn left into the Galaxy offices, and the atmosphere is strikingly different.
There are no offices with windows, only a few whose doors are open, and as a couple of heads pop out of the cubicles that fill the main room, it's easy to wonder if this is where Dilbert creator Scott Adams
Scott Raymond Adams (born June 8, 1957) is the creator of the Dilbert found his muse.
Anschutz Entertainment Group The Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) is a sporting and music entertainment presenter and a subsidiary of The Anschutz Corporation. The company owns or operates several major entertainment/sporting venues, including Staples Center and The Home Depot Center and beginning in , which has built Staples Center This article
* Its neutrality is disputed.
* It may contain original research or unverifiable claims.
* It does not cite any references or sources. , has multiple issues:L.A. Live This article or section contains information about expected future buildings or structures.
Some or all of this information may be speculative, and the content may change as building construction begins.
L.A. and the Home Depot Center, is less concerned with aesthetics than it is with business propositions. AEG AEG Aeger (Latin: Sick)
AEG Allgemeine Elektrizitäts-Gesellschaft (Common Electricity Company)
AEG Aircraft Evaluation Group
AEG Association of Engineering Geologists
AEG Air Expeditionary Group , which bought the Galaxy in 1998, has been the backbone of MLS See multilevel security. , sticking with it through the wobbly early years and last week entering into negotiations to build a stadium for its club in Houston, just as it has with its franchises in Chicago and Los Angeles.
"It's become more business-like, more corporate," Galaxy winger Cobi Jones Cobi Jones (born June 16, 1970 in Detroit, Michigan) is an American midfielder for Major League Soccer team Los Angeles Galaxy.
Jones is currently the all-time leader of the United States men's national team in appearances, with 164 caps as of the end of 2004 (scoring 15 , the Westlake Village native, said of the club he has played for since its inception.
Not that he's complaining -- Jones remembers having to practice in parking lot H at the Rose Bowl before the Home Depot Center opened in 2003.
Now, the Galaxy will be featuring Beckham. It also has the most recognizable American player in Landon Donovan Landon Timothy Donovan (born March 4, 1982 in Ontario, California), is an American professional soccer player on the Los Angeles Galaxy, who is the joint all-time leading scorer for the U.S. National Team (along with Eric Wynalda). . Wednesday it plays Scottish club Rangers, then later this summer it will host English power Chelsea, and Chivas de Guadalajara.
This is all part of the plan.
"You got to have stars -- not just for our organization, but for our sport -- especially for our city," said Lalas, himself the flaming-haired, guitar-strumming, goateed adj. 1. having a small pointed chin beard.
Adj. 1. goateed - having a small pointed chin beard
unshaved, unshaven - not shaved face of American soccer when the World Cup came here in 1994.
"It's built on entertainment and stars and show-me-something. If we want to take the Galaxy and ultimately Major League Soccer to that next level, we needed to do something big and bold, and I don't think you can get any bigger and bolder than signing David Beckham."
That Beckham would land in L.A., and that AEG would pick up his five-year, $27.5million contract, adds to a perception that the Galaxy plays by a different set of rules.
"We're treated well, but we're not given anything," said Donovan, though his return to MLS from Germany in 2005 was engineered to meet his desire to play near his home in Manhattan Beach Manhattan Beach, city (1990 pop. 32,063), Los Angeles co., S Calif., on Santa Monica Bay; inc. 1912. It is a residential and beach community with an oil refinery and nearby factories that produce transportation and electrical equipment, computers, and pottery. .
Then there's the Galaxy's $9.2 million payroll, which even without Beckham, dwarfs Chivas' $1.9 million payroll.
Also, add in that Galaxy ticket prices are roughly double those of Chivas and the notion of class conflict is easy to come by.
"Our tickets have to be harder to get than the team down the road," said Tom Payne Tom Payne may refer to:
tr.v. lik·ened, lik·en·ing, lik·ens
To see, mention, or show as similar; compare.
[Middle English liknen, from like, similar; see like2 the relationship with Chivas to the New York Yankees Editing of this page by unregistered or newly registered users is currently disabled due to vandalism. and Mets. "There's an arrogance about us to some extent and I'd assume that's the way they feel about us."
It's an accurate assumption.
"All the fan base of the Galaxy is in Beverly Hills. Our fan base is not in Beverly Hills," said Cue, forgetting for a moment that he is a resident of Bel-Air. "We don't fake ourselves. We don't create. We don't try to buy out our fans. Our fan base is well-spread, more Mexican-oriented, more passionate about soccer than the others are today -- not because they're not passionate, but these guys have seen it in three or four generations."
Can't fool the fans
Wander around the stadium for a Galaxy match and then a Chivas match, and it doesn't take an anthropologist to see the differences.
When the Galaxy scores, cannons fire confetti and the mostly Anglo crowd -- youth soccer being the main constituency, along with businessmen and a smattering of non-Mexican Latinos -- rises to its feet smacking smack·ing
Brisk; vigorous; spanking: a smacking breeze.
Noun 1. smacking - the act of smacking something; a blow delivered with an open hand
slap, smack thundersticks. With the exception of fan clubs the Galaxians and the Riot Squad in one corner -- the latter once brought dozens of blow-up dolls dressed in Chivas jerseys -- it's a polite crowd.
"It's not a Barney show," Lalas said. "There's something for the adult fan, something for the kids, but it's a sporting event. We won't apologize for being inclusive."
When Chivas plays, public-address announcements are made in Spanish, then English, and singers such as the Mariachi Divas perform "The Star- Spangled span·gle
1. A small, often circular piece of sparkling metal or plastic sewn especially on garments for decoration.
2. A small sparkling object, drop, or spot: spangles of sunlight. Banner."
When Chivas scores, the fans behind the north goal -- known as Legion 1908 -- toss into the air handfuls of white confetti that earlier had been passed around in large plastic bags. Shortly after, an enormous Chivas flag is unfurled -- one row passing it on to the next until it covers the entire section.
Once it's rolled back down, they go back to blowing the plastic horns that are ubiquitous at Mexican soccer matches, and singing songs and taunting chants to the beat of several large drums.
The only difference between Carson and Guadalajara is the absence of flares and fans carrying flags (which have been banned), David Martinez of Rosemead said.
And, of course, the people.
When Chivas de Guadalajara owner Jorge Vergara -- who co-owns the club with Cue -- planted his flag in the United States, he looked to trade on the club's standing as the Notre Dame of Mexican soccer. A main source of pride amongst the club -- and its followers -- is that in its 101-year history, a non-Mexican has never played for Chivas.
While MLS limits on foreign players made that impossible, it didn't put any restraints on their hubris Hubris
An arrogance due to excessive pride and an insolence toward others. A classic character flaw of a trader or investor. . Chivas USA announced its 2005 arrival with a marketing slogan: "Adios soccer. El futbol esta aqui!" (Goodbye soccer. Football is here!)
Mexican players, some from the mother club, were imported. But most were either too old or not very good. Chivas finished 4-22-6, the league's worst record.
As Chivas USA learned, the flip side Flip side
In the context of general equities, opposite side to a proposition or position (buy, if sell is the proposition and vice versa). of appealing to a soccer savvy audience is they know what they're looking at.
In that initial season, Chivas USA gave away twice as many tickets as it sold, according to an internal MLS document obtained by the SanDiego Union-Tribune.
"That was a mistake," Chivas captain Claudio Suarez, a former stalwart for Chivas de Guadalajara, said of the first season. "Because of the name, because of the colors, people feel that identification with the team in Mexico."
Building a rivalry
While Chivas improved last season, making the playoffs, it averaged 14,985 -- not including the game it played at the sold-out Coliseum as part of a doubleheader between FC Barcelona and Chivas de Guadalajara.
In two games this season, Chivas USA has drawn 14,351 and 11,253.
Meanwhile, the Galaxy -- thanks to Beckham's presence -- says it has sold more than 11,000 season tickets, and is close to selling out the rest of its schedule.
"We have to have our own identity and have our own fans," Suarez said. "We have to win over the fans by playing good soccer."
Now, there are only two Mexicans -- defender Suarez and midfielder Francisco Mendoza. The lineup today could also include a Cuban, a Honduran, a Romanian, a Frenchman, an Englishman and a Jewish kid from Los Alamitos, Jonathan Bornstein.
"At first you're worried, will they accept the white guys, the guys who weren't Mexican?" said striker Ante Razov, who grew up in Long Beach and Fontana.
"But they took us in. We showed the fans we could play and they cheer for the jersey, not who's wearing it or where they're from. It was something you thought about coming in -- certainly Mexico-U.S. games are hostile one way or another. That doesn't play into this part. They cheer for the club."
Those cheers might grow louder if it beats the Galaxy. In 10 games the teams have played, the Galaxy has won eight, lost one and tied one -- including a 3-1 victory last month.
Donovan, who forever will be vilified in Mexico for urinating in the hedges at Mexico City's Azteca Stadium, says playing Chivas brings out the best in him.
"When I'm playing, I realize it's a Mexican team and that's some motivation," he said. "I don't like losing to Mexico or Mexican teams."
Lalas said on a call-in show last week the only reason he pays attention to his neighbors is to watch the Chivas Girls.
But like Cue, Lalas is able to put hyperbole aside and acknowledge that the two clubs are good for each other. Just as Beckham's arrival will help Chivas, the youth academy that has already brought three players into Major League Soccer will bring scores more into the stadium.
Neither will admit there's much to learn from the other. But make no mistake, the neighbors watch to see how they measure up in the marketplace, the media and on the field.
Each, in its own language, eager to have the last word.
9 photos, box
(1) Chivas USA's Jonathan Bornstein, left, and the Galaxy's Ty Harden will battle again today.
Jeff Gross/Getty Images
(2 -- color) RAZOV
(3 -- color) BECKHAM
(4 -- color) no caption (Chivas USA fans)
(5 -- color) no caption (Galaxy fans)
(6 -- color) no caption (Stadium)
(7 -- color) no caption (two bottles of alcohol)
(8) no caption (Alexi Lalas)
(9) no caption (Antonio Cue)
GALAXY at CHIVAS USA
- Bob Holtzman