Barcelona Versus Chivas

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8/8/09 Barcelona 1 C.D. Guadalajara 1

I saw more people having their picture taken, with the field as the backdrop, with the Barcelona game as its theme than I’ve seen in a long time. People were constantly turning around to snap pictures of their friends or families members in the stadium watching FC Barcelona play in San Francisco. For many this would be their one chance to see a huge club like Barcelona play.

Barcelona Fan

The crowd erupted when the teams entered the stadium.

The Barcelona game was an event to remember. Photos to be put up on the wall or on Facebook.  A number of fans posed in their Barcelona jersey or scarf or both, with the nearly full stadium around them as the frame.  Over 60,000 people attended the Chivas versus Barcelona game at Candlestick park in San Francisco, and I don’t think anyone was disappointed.

Soccer at Candlestick Park in San Francisco

The stadium was nearly full.

It was a Barca show in the first half, with Messi, Xavi and Dani Alves doing the most damage – their quick passes were just too much for even a quick Mexican site. A Mexican side on the short side a bit, where Messi, Alves and Xavi didn’t look so small. But it was these three players who seemed to have a unique understanding, even more so than the rest of the squad, which is almost as telepathic.

It must come from the top though too though, as Pep Guardiola is always stressing playing as a ‘team’. Something that Barcelona does incredibly well. But if you want to take about a dynamic duo, it’s Messi and Alves on the right side.

Messi is SCREAMING for the soccer ball. Pass it to me Dani Alves.

Overall, it was another one of those Barcelona racking up more and more time in possession.  Pedro, Henry, and Messi all had clear chances to score.  Messi had an open goal at one point, but he wasn’t on his favorite left foot and took too many dribbles.  Pedro took a quick shot after a one two with Messi but the ball went straight to the Chivas’s keeper.  Henry was put through by Messi but was dragged too far wide and his shot hit the outer area of the goal.

However, despite all the Barcelona possession, there inability to score gave Chivas some hope, and in the second half they could have won the game.

Chivas Fans

Notice the little skeleton on the back of the Chivas fan, it’s wearing its own Chivas jersey. The Chivas section, high atop Candlestick Park, was waving flags and pounding drums throughout the match.

It was truly a Messi show though, and the crowd loved him, cheering whenever he touched the ball.  Anticipating and expecting something magical. And he would deliver.  He would dribble in and out of trouble, twisting and turning away from the Chivas players.

Messi doesn’t show a great deal of emotion.  Sure, he’s happy to score and happy to set other players up.  But he rarely lashes out or makes a big fuss.  After a few labyrinth like exchanges with Alves, and the Chivas players spun like tops, Messi was unable to control the final cross by Alves, and he showed his frustration, sort of throwing his hands up, as he so desperately wanted to finish off such a good play and please the crowd.

Find Your Seat

Finding your seat at Candlestick wasn’t so easy for many.

Messi just wants to play and have the ball at his feet and play. At one point the jumbo tron shot to Xavi and Messi arms crossed, long sleeve shirts on, as the watched the second half from the bench.  Did they just want to go home already? Having to sit through the second half in the windy Candlestick park. I’m sure they would have rather been out on the field.

Messi was kicked at one point from behind, but he didn’t get upset, he just put the ball back down and restarted the game.  He’s a kid who just wants to play football.  Camera bulbs flashed and there was an electricity about the park when Messi and Barcelona strung their passes together.  It just a shame there weren’t a few more goals or Messi didn’t score. I would have liked to hear a Messi chant from the 60,000.

Chivas Fan with Mexican Flag

Chivas fan waves a Mexican flag.

It was Dani Alves who got beat on the header after Abidal’s poor clearance, but Alves made up for it with the cross that found Bojan alone at the back post to touch home the tying goal. Barcelona was caught going forward and a nicely swung in crossby Xavier Baez found the head of Ramon Morales.

Chivas Fans Celebrate a Goal

Chivas could have very easily won this game even though they saw so little of the ball.

It was a bit surprising that Alves even stayed on in the second half, but he nearly scored after he beat a player and his shot grazed the crossbar. He seemed determined to make up for his, perhaps mistake, and win the game.

Chivas Fan Blows a Horn

The Vuvuzela was alive and well at Candlestick.

You come away from a game like wishing you could see Barcelona every week or at least a high level game, but then again, when they come once a year, it makes it all that more special.

Crowd Exiting the Stadium

The crowd makes their way out of the stadium after the game.

Images above by Charles Russo.

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