With the 2013 First Kick right around the corner this weekend, I thought it would be instructive to look back and see Chivas USA's track record for season openers. Obviously, a single game in March or April does not make or break the season, but I found a fascinating parallel to Chivas' results and their ultimate season performances.
|Year||H/A||Opponent||Result||Score||Opponent position in final standings||Chivas' position in final standings|
|2005||Home||D.C. United||Loss||2-0||2nd in Eastern Conference||6th in Western Conference|
|2006||Home||Real Salt Lake||Win||3-0||6th in Western Conference||3rd in Western Conference|
|2007||Home||Toronto FC||Win||2-0||7th in Eastern Conference||1st in Western Conference|
|2008||Away||FC Dallas||Draw||1-1||5th in Western Conference||2nd in Western Conference|
|2009||Home||Colorado Rapids||Win||2-1||6th in Western Conference||4th in Western Conference|
|2010||Home||Colorado Rapids||Loss||1-0||5th in Western Conference||8th in Western Conference|
|2011||Home||Sporting Kansas City||Loss||3-2||1st in Eastern Conference||8th in Western Conference|
|2012||Home||Houston Dynamo||Loss||1-0||5th in Eastern Conference||9th in Western Conference|
For a club that is not considered anything close to a marquee team in MLS, it is interesting to see that the Goats have hosted their season opener eight of nine seasons (if you include Saturday's opener against the Columbus Crew). However, the reason for that likely has to do with the fact that the weather is generally good enough in Southern California to host a game year round, while many of Chivas' opponents would have difficulty clearing their pitch of snow or attracting fans to sit in frigid temperatures. Either way, Chivas have had home cooking all but one year to start their seasons off.
Now for the payoff: Chivas has won or drawn in their season opener every year they have made the playoffs (2006-2009). In every season they have missed the playoffs, they have lost their first game (2005, 2010-2012).
Again, win, lose or draw, Chivas' 2013 season will not be made or broken Saturday against the Crew. But as far as correlation is concerned, the track record is clear. A win or draw will be a good omen, not to mention on a practical note, the team will have points on the board immediately to start the season. Either way, will they keep the streak alive this year?
What do you think? Leave a comment below!