The Great Mexican Soccer Adventure
Chivas de Guadalajara fans gather at the Fuente Olímpica (Olympic Fountain) three hours before the start of the Guadalajara derby between Chivas and Atlas on April 14. Hundreds of fans later took over the road from cars and marched a mile down the Calzada Independencia to the stadium, the Estadio Jalisco. Chivas won the Mexican league rivalry game 2-0.
Hardcore Chivas fans, most of them teenagers, rally on top of a bus before the Clásico Tapatío, the Guadalajara derby game between Chivas and Atlas on April 14. The most common question to three Americans documenting the scene: Can you buy me some beer?
A young Chivas fan mounts a telephone pole to take a cell-phone picture of the advancing parade of Chivas fans marching down the Calzada Independencia in Guadalajara. The winners of 11 Mexican league championships, Chivas is best known for its policy of using only Mexican-born players.
Chivas fans celebrate their team's first goal against intracity rival Atlas during the Goats' 2-0 win on April 14 at the Estadio Jalisco in Guadalajara.
A mountain of soccer shoes is on sale outside the Estadio Nemesio Diez in Toluca before the Red Devils' 2-0 home loss to eventual champion Pachuca on April 15. Located about 40 miles west of Mexico City, the stadium has the highest altitude of any in the Mexican top flight (8,790 feet, or 2,680 meters) and will not be allowed to host any international matches due to the new FIFA rule banning internationals held above 2,500 meters.
*El SuperDiablo* (The SuperDevil), a leader of Toluca's supporters group, *La Perra Brava*, rallies the home fans behind the goal during their team's 2-0 loss to Pachuca on April 15. El SuperDiablo says he owns five different *Lucha Libre* masks that are common to the popular form of Mexican pro wrestling. This one includes devil horns and strings of tiny red-and-green ersatz sausages--a symbol of the *chorizos* that the city of Toluca is famous for.
Toluca's supporters, known as *La Perra Brava*, are known for removing their shirts when Toluca scores a goal and waving them around their heads for the rest of the game. (Even women? "Sometimes!" one says. "We have pictures!") Alas, Toluca is shut out 2-0 by Pachuca in this game, and the shirts stay on.
One of the ever-present "Corona girls" poses under an umbrella at halftime of Pachuca's 2-0 win at Toluca on April 15. During postgame press conferences Corona girls will scurry to stand behind athletes being interviewed on-camera, the better to display themselves (and their brand names) to the masses.
The sun sets over *La Bombonera*, the common name for Toluca's home stadium, as Pachuca begins dropping the hammer on the home team in a 2-0 victory. After a disappointing season Toluca will replace coach Americo Gallego with former Argentine manager José Pekerman.
High above Mexico City's legendary Estadio Azteca, fans of Club América cheer on their *Águilas* (Eagles) in a 2-1 Copa Libertadores victory against El Nacional of Ecuador on April 18. Drawn by a deal promising all tickets for 50 pesos (around $5) each, more than 60,000 fans show up for a Wednesday game in the 105,000-seat stadium made famous by Pelé and Diego Maradona in the 1970 and 1986 World Cups.
Forward Sergio Santana of Chivas surges past Andrés Nicolás Olivera of Atlas during Chivas' 2-0 win on April 14 in Guadalajara.
Chivas forward Omar Bravo battles with Atlas defender Hugo Ayala in a game that got chippy on several occasions.
The referee will soon step in and avert a throwdown between Chivas forward Omar Bravo and Atlas defender Hugo Ayala during Chivas' 2-0 win over their intracity rival.
Even though they're technically the "home" team in this edition of the Guadalajara derby against Chivas, smoke-bomb-lighting Atlas fans are outnumbered by Chivas supporters in the Estadio Jalisco.
Chicago Fire-bound Cuauhtémoc Blanco still has his mojo, as he proves by outsmarting El Nacional's Pavel Caicedo during Club América's 2-1 Copa Libertadores victory on April 18 in Mexico City. Blanco will be the second-highest-paid player in Major League Soccer behind David Beckham when he joins the Fire in July.