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November 22, 2014

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Not so super: This Clasico overshadowed by poor fan behavior

Image

Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

Fans jump on the goal for photos after the Chivas vs. Club America El Super Clasico soccer game Wednesday, July 3, 2013 at Sam Boyd Stadium.

Soccer Fans at El Super Clasico

Fights break out on the field after El Super Clasico soccer game between Chivas and Club America Wednesday, July 3, 2013 at Sam Boyd Stadium. Launch slideshow »

El Super Clasico - Chivas Fan Beaten

A Chivas fan lies motionless on the field after being beaten nearly unconscious by Club America fans after El Super Clasico soccer game Wednesday, July 3, 2013 at Sam Boyd Stadium. Launch slideshow »

Chivas vs. America Fan Brawl

Metro Police officers talk to an injured fan after a fight between fans of Chivas Guadalajara and Club America before El Super Clasico soccer game at Sam Boyd Stadium, Wednesday, July 3, 2013. Witnesses said 150-200 people were involved in the altercation. Launch slideshow »

Chivas Defeats Club America

Narciso Mina, left, (7) of Club America and Kristian Alvarez, left, (3) of Chivas Guadalajara jump to head a ball during El Super Clasico soccer game at Sam Boyd Stadium Wednesday July 3, 2013. Launch slideshow »

Guadalajara v. America by the Numbers

  • 1906: The year Club Deportivo Guadalajara (Sports Club of Guadalajara) was founded
  • 1916: The year Club de Futbol America (America Soccer Club) was founded
  • 08-01-1943: Date of the first meeting between the two teams, a 1-0 victory for Guadalajara
  • 174: The number of official meetings (not including exhibition matches) between the two teams. America holds the slightest advantage with a record of 63 wins, 62 losses and 54 ties
  • 0: The number of times either team has been relegated to the Mexican second division, the only two teams in the Mexican soccer leagues to have never suffered the dishonor
  • 11: The number of Mexican league championship titles held by each team; they are tied for the most championships by any Mexican soccer team

When Chivas midfielder Giovani Casillas scored the game-winning goal Wednesday night against Club America at Sam Boyd Stadium in an exhibition between the rival Mexican club teams, he barely had time to celebrate.

Almost immediately, he had to hustle out of the way of beer bottles and other debris flying onto the field from upset Club America fans.

Then, while officials were picking up the mess, fans started running onto the field to shake hands with the players. At first, it was four fans, but soon it grew to more than 100.

So, with about four minutes remaining in the game, the match was called. Chivas won 1-0 in front of 14,600 fans, but few will be talking about the outcome.

The craziness to close play paled in comparison to what occurred in the parking lot about an hour before kickoff. Opposing fans got into a massive brawl in the south parking lot, sending six to the hospital and bringing more than 100 police cars from Metro, Henderson Police and other agencies to bring order.

Officials haven’t released how many fans were involved in the ruckus, but it’s believed to be more than 100. Police stopped traffic heading to the stadium on Russell Road and Boulder Highway, forcing thousands of fans to walk to the stadium in more than 100-degree heat.

Others on foot had to wait across the street from the facility for nearly 45 minutes before being allowed to cross.

Some didn’t arrive until after halftime. Tim Luce, the event’s organizer, wouldn’t comment on whether fans would be issued a refund. The game had to begin at 8 p.m. to accommodate television.

“The focus was the safety of the fans and players and everyone involved in the game,” Luce said. “We feel that police took immediate action to be able to calm the disturbance and came up with a good plan making sure people get in.”

Las Vegas has a passionate soccer community and the game was supposed to be the launching point for more events, or maybe even landing a Major League Soccer franchise. Now, some will obviously question whether or not hosting soccer is worth the headache.

That’s especially true when you consider the pregame antics were just the beginning.

After the game was called, fans on the field started fighting and throwing cans at each other. At least two were transported to the hospital. And, minutes before the goal was scored, fans on the north side of the stadium set off fireworks.

Safety of the players was in such question that Chivas players immediately walked off the field and left the stadium. Club America players stayed in their locker room until the stadium cleared before talking with media.

There was no shaking hands with the opposition — then again, they are heated rivals and the game produced nine cards.

With about five minutes to play in the first half, benches cleared for both teams after a hard slide-tackle foul. Four red cards were issued, two for each team, meaning each team played the remainder of the game two players down.

That, however, is a normal part of soccer — especially in the Club America-Chivas rivalry. It’s the other madness at Sam Boyd.

“The important thing is to see what happens when the dust settles,” Luce said at halftime. “If most people are able to get in second half and we’re able to disperse them at the end of the game that should calm things. We’ll see what happens in first few days in terms of public response and how things are handled.”

Ray Brewer can be reached at 990-2662 or [email protected]. Follow Ray on Twitter at twitter.com/raybrewer21.

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  1. "...Opposing fans got into a massive brawl in the south parking lot, sending six to the hospital..."-- By their fruits you will know them!