On Friday, two active Chivas USA players faced off in a World Cup game for the first time. Although Oswaldo Minda and Marvin Chavez were actually on the field against each other for all of a single minute in Ecuador's 2-1 win over Honduras, it was the first time two Goats teammates played each other in the world's biggest tournament.
The Goat Parade's statistics department decided to look back through World Cup history to figure out Chivas USA's past exploits at the World Cup.
Minda became just the second active Chivas USA player to start in a World Cup game, joining Jonathan Bornstein, who started two games in the 2010 tournament. Bornstein first got the call in the USMNT's pivotal 1-0 win over Algeria to conclude group stage play, although he was substituted in the 80th minute and wasn't on the field during Landon Donovan's iconic winning goal in second half stoppage time. Bornstein did start and play the full game in the Americans' next game, the round of 16 loss to Ghana.
The other CUSA player to suit up for the U.S. Men's National Team at the World Cup was John O'Brien, who came off the bench at halftime in the opening 3-0 loss to the Czech Republic in 2006. O'Brien shares something in common with Chavez, at least for the moment, as both players both played a single competitive game with Chivas USA prior to playing in the World Cup with their respective countries. O'Brien, of course, battled injuries most of his career and an injury picked up in his World Cup game is partially attributed to the end of his playing career later that year. Let's all hope that in Chavez's case, he has many productive games for his current club ahead of him.
One other Goat was called up to his national team for the 2006 World Cup, but did not feature in the tournament. Stalwart defender Claudio Suarez was selected by Mexico, but that country's all-time appearances leader did not make it off the bench in Germany. Suarez played 64 league games for Chivas USA between 2006-2009, aka the glory years.
So that makes four Goats to play in the last three World Cups, with one more CUSA player at the world championships but without actually taking the field. And you'll note that Minda and Chavez are the first Chivas USA players to play for a team other than the United States in the World Cup. Of course, given the team's reputation and connection with Mexico, it is notable that no player has ever played for El Tri in a World Cup. Of course, besides Suarez, only a couple of CUSA players could even really be considered Mexican national team caliber, like Paco Palencia. Maybe at some point, the same will be said for Erick Torres, but time will tell on that count.
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