PHOTOS: Looking For A Few Good Ticos: L.A. Galaxy Take On C.S. Cartaginés

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It’s been a good summer for Latino soccer fans (basically, ALL of us Latinos, right?!) in the US. CONCAFAF’s annual Gold Cup tournament brought a few national teams stateside to root for. If you’re like me, that certainly wasn’t enough, which is why we should all be thankful for CONCACAF’s Champions League tournament. The tournament, which pits the best clubs from North America, Central America, and the Caribbean, arrived once again to Los Angeles as the L.A. Galaxy took on Costa Rican team C.S. Cartaginés in the group stage of qualifiers.

The Stub Hub Center was easily about 90% Galaxy fans with very few Costa Ricans in attendance, my friend Fernando Palacios included. The small group of ticos, however, did their best to root for their country’s team. One old guy in particular provided some very colorful commentary enough to start a new drinking game: take a shot whenever he says “puta.”

David Calderon was one of the few local ticos in attendance. He arrived in the US in 1993 with his family and visits Costa Rica at least once a year. “This isn’t my team,” he admitted, “but since they’re Costa Rican, we’re here to support them.”

It’s not the first time he’s rooted for other teams either. The growth of Major League Soccer has allowed immigrants in both the US and Canada to root for local clubs, including their rivals, from their home countries as well as players from their home countries who play for MLS clubs.

“The whole thing seems like a lie,” said Calderon of Costa Rican’s chances in the championship. “We’ve been here before to see Herediano, Cartago, Saprissa, and now Cartago [again]. Many teams have come and we always lose! I don’t know if it’s ever worth coming because we’ve never won in this stadium but we’ll always root for the Costa Ricans.”

He also roots for Costa Ricans in Major League Soccer, many who are also personal friends of his, such as Pablo Chinchilla who played with the LA Galaxy in 2005.

Another group of ticos we met had flown in from Costa Rica to root for Cartaginés. They were upset with the loss but they hope to see their team redeem itself in Cartago next month for the next round. One fan, Osvaldo Muniz from Cartago, was very quick to point out how Cartaginés won the Champions Cup in San Jose, CA in 1994 against Atlante of Mexico. NEVER FORGET!

Cartaginés spent the majority of the game searching for an opening to counter-attack with but found very few. On the other hand, the Galaxy were in strong form from the first minute to the last and defeated Cartaginés with two goals from captain Robbie Keane.