Steve Sampson

Field. Stormed. Blue Green Rivalry sees 11,075 at Cal Poly (video)

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As the beautiful game continues to grow in the United States, we see more and more videos of big, passionate crowds.

We just don’t expect them to be this large when it comes to college soccer, and this one would’ve been the high season attendance for all but three USL teams and every team in the NASL.

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In what’s become an annually well-attended derby, the Blue Green Rivalry between UCSB and Cal Poly saw the largest crowd in NCAA Soccer this season, as 11,075 fans crammed into Spanos Stadium on Saturday. Cal Poly won 4-1.

The show is nothing new, but always impressive. Just listen to the roar when coach Steve Sampson’s — yes, that Steve Sampson — Mustangs equalized through sophomore midfielder Kenneth Higgins en route to a 4-1 win (about 40 seconds into the above video).

According to the Cal Poly site:

The best-attended sporting event annually in San Luis Obispo County, the Cal Poly-UC Santa Barbara series has drawn 20 of the top 53 regular season crowd figures in NCAA history with all matches occurring during the previous 11 seasons.

Not bad, and the match finished with Cal Poly fans flooding the field in what will be an enduring memory for the Mustangs (and surely the visiting Gauchos as well. The sides drew 0-0 at UCSB on Oct. 14).

It appears Chivas USA has a new coach

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The club hasn’t made an announcement yet, but if the man’s Twitter is any indication, José Luis Sanchez Sola – Chelis – is going to be the new boss at Chivas USA:

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And although the guy deserves credit for having some English in the bag at the onset, something got lost in the translation here:

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I take it Rich Ransom won’t be meeting Chelis at the airport.

We talked about it yesterday, but of the three candidates prominently connected to the Chivas USA job, I thought Sanchez was the worst fit. That doesn’t mean he’s doomed to fail. Jorge Vergara may have heard something in the interview that sold him on the choice. But with Ramon Ramirez and Steve Sampson, I can see why they’re be hungry to do well in this job. With Sanchez, I don’t see it.

That thinking is flimsy enough to fade away with one strong media session (which means the logic should hardly be used at all). What will be harder to dispel is the notion that Vergara continues to see Mexico has having answers for MLS. If the Chivas owner were bringing Enrique Meza or Victor Manuel Vucetich north, the move would be beyond reproach. But Sanchez is a man that’s been with three clubs since the beginning of 2010, the last of which was in the second division.

He has no experience in MLS and no meaningful connection to Chivas USA nor the club in Guadalajara.

The results will eventually speak for themselves, but on paper, there are a lot of question marks …

… presuming Chelis isn’t speaking out of turn on Twitter.

Reports have Sampson, Ramirez among candidates for Chivas USA job

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A couple of signs things around Chivas USA aren’t getting better: First, the surprise news last week the Johan Cruyff, the man who was supposed to be engineering all things Chivas soccer, is gone; and second, the team still doesn’t have a coach. Granted, Chivas isn’t the only team without a boss. Still, their situation just seems more chaotic, with the team undergoing an organization reset after a deflating 2012.

More than a month after Chivas’s last competitive match, candidates are starting to emerge to replace Robin Fraser. Team blog The Goat Parade aggregates a number of reports to spotlight three main contenders.

Ramon Ramirez played for Chivas USA for three seasons (2005-07) after a long career in the Mexican league (which included two spells with Chivas Guadalajara). With 121 Mexican national team caps on his playing record, the former midfielder brings a lot of on-the-field credibility to the position. A one-time captain in Carson, Ramirez is more than a drop-in option and may actually bring some history and organizational pride to a team that has always had a transient quality to it.

That’s why Jose Luis Sanchez Sola (“Chelis”) seems like a less attractive option. Spanish-language reports claim Chelis has had contract with Jorge Vergara, but he’s also been linked with a return to Puebla, where he help restore that club to competitiveness late last decade. Over the last couple of seasons, he’s had a disappointing spell at Estudiantes Tecos and a short stint at second division side Correcaminos. While the job he did at Puebla (resurrecting a dormant team) recommends itself for Chivas USA, it’s hard to see how this would be something other than just another job to Chelis.

For Steve Sampson, however, the Chivas USA job would be a break. It would be a chance for the former MLS Cup-winner and U.S. men’s national team coach to get back in a game he’s been out of since 2006. He’s a fluent Spanish speaker, has experience in Latin America (a head coaching stint with Costa Rica), and can assumed to be hungry to prove his firing by the Galaxy in the wake of a MLS Cup-U.S. Open Cup double was premature.