Chivas USA: Sí, se puede follows the front office and coach Thomas Rongen as they try to convert a 99-year-old Mexican product (Club Deportivo Guadalajara, aka Chivas Guadalajara) into a successful MLS expansion team.
Director Sergio Guerrero (a writer on Day without a Mexican) documents the many problems that confront the players. Aside from marquee midfielder Ramon Ramirez (who is even more handsome than David Beckham), the imported Mexicans are from poor areas.
They struggle with being on their own for the first time, loneliness, separation from families, housing, leasing cars, and language. It’s flabbergasting to watch Coach Tom Rongen lecture and give pep talks in English without a translator. The only players who can understand him are Ezra Hendrickson, Brad Guzan, and Ryan Suarez.
In pre-season, they are literally beaten to a 7-0 pulp by the US MNT (looks like Joe Cannon is the USA GK) and in the process lose a prize field player and their starting GK. This gives 20 year old Brad Guzan the job. Star Ramirez temporarily quits the team just before the first game, because he can’t get visas for 2 people he needs for his entourage. In practice, tempers flare, and a Mexican throws Ryan Suarez into the goal net and kicks him in the groin.
After the film
Because the director prefers to be positive about Latino themes, he only films the story up to the inaugural game, as if to imply the team will rise above adversity. But the truth is, Rongen was replaced after they won just one game in 10, and Chivas USA finished the 2005 season 4-22-6. Almost 10 years later, in the 2014 season, attendance is embarrassing (the team attracts only about 1,000 fans to its games), and MLS buys back the franchise.
Not as brutally honest as The Four Year Plan, which was unafraid to show QPR owners warts and all, this film only covers problems at the lowest levels of players, coaches, and front office staff, rather than owners. But it is an honest film.
6 Soccer Movie Mom Ratiing = 6