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July 23, 2014

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Massive brawl sets the tone for violent Mexican soccer event at Sam Boyd Stadium

Image

Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

Metro officers carry a Chivas fan off the field after he was beaten nearly unconscious by Club America fans after El Super Clasico soccer game Wednesday, July 3, 2013 at Sam Boyd Stadium.

Updated Wednesday, July 3, 2013 | 11:45 p.m.

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 »

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 »

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

The brawl was only the beginning.

Less than an hour before Mexican soccer rivals Chivas and Club America met in their El Super Clasico exhibition game Wednesday in Las Vegas, hundreds of Club America fans met a Chivas bus entering the Sam Boyd Stadium parking lot. Rocks the size of baseballs flew and bottles were thrown.

Minutes later, dozens of Metro Police cars poured through the stadium's entrance to separate a large group of yellow-clad Club America fans from a crowd of candy-striped Chivas fans who'd joined the fray. Six people were injured, including one Chivas fan whose blood blended with the red-and-white stripes on his jersey.

The parking lot brawl set the tone for a match that ended with fans flooding the field throwing beer bottles at each other and fighting. Metro Police officials said a few people were arrested by the end of the game, but they did not keep an exact tally.

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

Played amid a record-setting heat wave, the game's atmosphere was volatile throughout. Chivas and Club America have been rivals since 1943, and fans on both sides came into the match saying they believed the teams would give all-out effort despite the game being an exhibition.

Club America fan Gil Garcia described the rivalry as "deadly."

"We don’t like each other," he said.

That became apparent during the pregame brawl, which left thousands of fans trapped outside the parking lot as police restored order. Fans who were delayed from entering the stadium had to walk from Boulder Highway, and many arrived after the game started. But to adhere to a TV schedule, the game started on time. Luce had no comment on refunds.

El Super Clasico was the first high-profile soccer game to be held in Las Vegas since Real Madrid and Santos Laguna met last August at Sam Boyd Stadium in a peaceful match that drew more than 25,000 fans. That game, along with the excitement surrounding the lead-up to the Chivas-Club America match, fueled hope that Las Vegas might one day become the home of a Major League Soccer franchise. However, the violence on Wednesday night challenged the notion that the city could handle an MLS team.

“The important thing is to see what happens when dust settles,” Luce said at halftime. “We’ll see what happens in first few days in terms of public response and how things are handled.”

The stands took on a party-like atmosphere early in the game, filled with the blare of horns, banging drums and singing. Club America fans let off blue and yellow smoke canisters throughout the match.

“There is so much pressure for everybody,” Club America fan Polo Hernandez said. “We win this game, it proves we are more tough than anyone. You carry it in your heart. Beat Chivas is everything.”

Octavio Garcia watched the game in Club America’s section with a friend. He made light of the risk of mingling with the opposing team.

“They could kill me right now,” he joked before halftime.

But the fun and festivity gave way to ugliness as the game wore on. When a bench-clearing fight broke out between the players, fans cheered. Chivas fans chanted their team name, while Club America fans belted their team anthem. Once Chivas broke the tied game with a goal in the closing minutes, pandemonium broke loose.

Chivas fans blasted off fireworks in the stands; Club America fans tossed half-filled bottles and streamers onto the pitch. Then came the fans. At first one or two ran onto the field and were carried off, but then came a flood of spectators. They threw beer bottles at each other, and at least one was kicked in the face.

According to police scanner traffic, a large crowd in the stands threw objects at officers tending to an injured fan. More officers were called in to deal with the situation.

After the game ended, police carried several bloodied and injured fans off the field.

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  1. Shocking I tell you. Now who could have imagined this would happen. This is a perfect example of why we don't need this type of event in Las Vegas.

  2. Between this soccer game and the 2007 NBA All Star game, Las Vegas is not ready for a major professional team.
    While Las Vegas can handle things like New Years Eve, PBR, Electric Daisy Carnival and other large events, they don't draw the crowds that go to NBA games and soccer games.

  3. How shameful, some people acting out their inner ambitions of violence, regardless of what or where an event may be, they are merely opportunist looking to inflict harm upon others as a way of letting out their pain of social ineptitude.

    The only place folks of this caliber belong are dungeons, so all who attend know beforehand the level of hedonism which is appropriate.

    Just think of the young fans being burdened with such behavior, then developing fear of sports events as a place for pandemonium, where only probability keeps you from harm's way.

    It appears that many in the Hispanic community need to rethink what is acceptable behavior when in social setting.

    I say this in the strongest voice possible not to tarnish my people but rather to emphasize the personnel need of some to correct this conduct, it will not be tolerated, nor should it even be thought of as per chance.

  4. Some fans got a 3 for 1....Soccer, MMA, and Battle Royal all in 1 ticket price!

  5. This Hooliganism will set Soccer back for decades in Las Vegas and has destroyed any support in the community to build a stadium for it. Let them build their own stadium with seat Licenses and ticket prices high enough to pay for all the Police and Overtime needed to keep it secure. I'll guess there's not enough money to build a Hot Dog Stand. If they ever have this game again, make sure they post a Bond Large enough to cover all the Police Overtime, Damage, People at Hospitals without Insurance, etc.....

  6. It was a blowout....Chivas won 1-0.

  7. Is this why law enforcement is overwhelming AGAINST letting illegals stay in this country?

  8. I stopped going to the Rebel football games because the security was lousy and I felt like I had to defend my family each time. The culprits were drunk college kids.

    Ben Lambert - great point, People at Hospitals without Insurance. that guy that got beat up, was he insured?

  9. The next soccer match at Sam Boyd will be in ten days on 7/13. Team Monarcas v. L.A. Firpo. The first 2000 kids under 8 get in free! Go to unlvtickets.com for details. I dare you.

    The questions that need to be asked are was the game understaffed on the usher side? The police side? Then ask if there was a plan in place to keep these two sides separate. Then ask what parts of these pieces went wrong? Road flares should never have gotten into the stadium to be thrown. Same with bottles. People should never have been able to get onto the field. And finally-the alcohol sales. These people were no doubt plied before they even got to the game-why make them rowdier by giving them more alcohol? You cut your nose off despite your face because now there wont BE future alcohol sales to soccer fans after the event on the 13th-because there won't BE anymore soccer events at Sam Boyd. Sounds to me like it was understaffed, poorly planned, and all to spend the least amount of money in order to make the most and pray that the crowd does not go to crap. Well, it did. Now comes the price. Cue the lawyers.

  10. Eliminate soccer events at Boyd Stadium and you will eliminate the violence. Sad to say, but that is the most practical solution.

  11. Anyone really surprised? Not if you are even casually aware of the "sport." Seems like every "major" soccer game ends in a riot. Let them do their nasty things in foreign countries. Who needs them?

  12. Where is Winfield Scott when we need him?

  13. Who was the idiot that scaled back on security !!!!!

  14. Soccer is the only sport I can think of that inspires riots on at least three continents.

    One more reason to ignore soccer now that the kids are in long pants.

  15. Deport them all.

  16. 1) Double gate prices
    2) Double price of alcohol (plastic cups only)
    3) Hold matches in morning or early afternoon.
    4) Hassle and eject any troublemakers immediately.
    5) Enforce a strict dress code. (Collared shirts only for men)

    Once people acclimate to the price change they will behave better. No one wants to spend a lot of money and end up out on the street or in jail while wearing nice clothes.