Ten years and two weeks ago, Major League Soccer brought forth on this continent, a new club, conceived in discrimination, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal... at least as long as they are of Mexican descent. In February, the league ended the dubious experiment that was CD Chivas, when it purchased the club from Jorge Vergara.
Curiously, the league took control exactly three days after Chivas Guadalajara Licensing LLC, which is based in Carson, California, had filed trademark applications for the names and images of the Los Angeles Football Club and Los Angeles Soccer Club. Along with the rest of the club's assets, the league took over these applications, though they are by no means bound by them.
Obviously, CD Chivas knew that the end was near, though it's likely that Vergara's ownership group assumed they would be allowed to rebrand the club. But the league had other ideas, and some 177 days later, the club is still being operated by the league. Next year, they will have a new name. That much is certain. But will they be Los Angeles FC, Los Angeles SC, or something new? We can't say.
And we wouldn't expect any kind of announcement until at least October 27th. They play the San Jose Earthquakes in Carson on October 26th. Chances are that the club won't officially be rebranded until after the conclusion of the Anschutz Cup, which means they'll be CD Chivas until sometime in December.
But that concerns the club that is to come. As for the club that is, they had a match to play against the Whitecaps. By hook or by crook, Vancouver came in with a much changed squad. Nicolás Mezquida came in for Pedro Morales, who had been nursing a hamstring injury from last week's match with Sporting Kansas City.
Russell Teibert came on for Gershon Koffie for similar reasons, though Koffie did manage to play the entire match against the defending Anschutz Cup champions. And after a late solid performance as a substitute, Omar Salgado started in place of Erik Hurtado, who we're happy to report seems to have recovered from the bump on the head he sustained against Sporting.
In the 10th minute, Darren Mattocks passed the ball off to Jordan Harvey, who was further up the field. After getting rid of the ball, he tried to go around the other side of Donald Toia, who took a step towards Mattocks, and planted his feet, impeding the Jamaican's run.
An otherwise dull half got interesting in the 36th minute when Matías Laba picked up a yellow card that will rule him out of next week's match with the Los Angeles Galaxy. Although it initially looked like he had won the ball, the referee was in perfect position to make the call, adjudging the Argentine's tackle to be late and deserving of the caution.
With Laba ruled out through suspension, and Koffie a question mark through injury, Russell Teibert and Mehdi Ballouchy will likely form the holding midfield two that is so favoured by Vancouver manager Carl Robinson. In the absence of Pedro Morales, it was the Canadian Soccer Jesus, Russell Teibert, who wore the Captain's armband. With another quality performance tonight, he may well have earned the vice-captaincy on a permanent basis.
In the second half, Erik Hurtado came on for Darren Mattocks, who had taken a knock earlier, and required treatment. The speedy striker has done well for himself this year, improving his play off the ball, but tonight, whether due to injury, or otherwise, it just wasn't his night.
As is often the case against Chivas, the match felt like the home side were playing for a draw. For them, it's a sound strategy. While Erick Torres has scored 14 goals this year, no other Chivas player in today's eighteen could claim more than a solitary effort.
Around fifteen minutes after the break, the Whitecaps were awarded a free kick, which David Ousted tried to take quickly. But Erick Torres, sensing his teammates were not in position, took four steps towards the ball and leapt in front, preventing Ousted from taking the kick. He had to halt his effort mid run, and wait for Torres to retreat from the ball. These kinds of calls are rarely made, but in our eyes, that was a deliberate delay of game and Torres deserved a caution for it.
Sensing a chance to snatch all three points from a vulnerable Chivas side, Carl Robinson brought Hurtado, Kekuta Manneh, and Morales on for Mattocks, Salgado, and Mezquida by the 68th minute. It also gave us the rare and amusing sight of a substitute coming on to collect the captain's armband from someone who remained on the pitch.
The changes had the desired effect, and the game turned on its head. Suddenly, the Whitecaps found that they had space. They created chances. Such is the impact of Morales. He's not only the best player on the pitch, but he makes those around him better. And really, is there anything more you could ask of him?
But Chivas had their chances too. In the 74th minute, Torres slipped the ball to Mauro Rosales, who forced Ousted to make a save. Torres collected the rebound, but his final effort was wide of the mark. Not long after, Manneh found himself performing a similar feat at the opposite end of the park.
With the travelling supporters cheering him on, Morales lined up for a dangerous free kick in the 78th minute, smashing it low and hard. They got the ball back with a couple of throw ins. They continued to press, leading to a Rosales booking, and yet another dead ball from dangerous situation.
Morales' shot beat the four man wall, but he couldn't beat Chivas goalkeeper Dan Kennedy. Not long after, substitute Ryan Finley had to wait on the sidelines as Torres initially refused to come off. But these sorts of things are common when passions run high. Salgado wasn't too happy about coming off either.
With Andy O'Brien making his second start in as many games, Vancouver was able to keep a clean sheet. As Morales does for the midfield and the forwards, O'Brien's influence on the defence is profound. He sees things that others seem to miss, and is always vocal, marshalling the defence, keeping things tight at the back.
While a win would have been nice, an away draw should never be discounted. With Columbus's emphatic 4-1 win over the Galaxy, Vancouver remains tied with Salt Lake for the fewest losses this year.
The Whitecaps finished the night on 33 points, good enough for fifth place in the Western Conference. With a win next week against the Galaxy, they can move into fourth place, though Los Angeles will still have two games in hand.
After that, they return home for a Cascadia Cup date with the Portland Timbers on August 30th as the Caps continue the Quest for La Quinta.