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SOCCER

'Mexico's Team' Rallies for a Badly Needed Tie

July 09, 2001|VALERIE GUTIERREZ | TIMES STAFF WRITER

It was only an exhibition, but the die-hard fans Sunday at the Coliseum didn't cheer that way. They were there to root for Chivas Rayadas de Guadalajara, practically "Mexico's Team," much as the Dallas Cowboys once were thought of as America's team in the NFL.

But the Mexican First Division soccer club had lost consecutive games and needed a victory against its instate rival Atlas.

Israel Lopez's free kick in the 43rd minute easily went past a crowd of defenders to gain a 2-2 tie in front of 15,000 mostly pro-Chivas fans.

"We settled down in the second half," Chivas Coach Oscar Ruggeri said after his team overcame a two-goal deficit.

Omar Bravo rebounded Alejandro Nava's missed goal at the 38th minute for Chivas' first score. Hugo Castillo scored two first-half goals for Atlas.

The rivalry between the two Guadalajara teams is huge, but Chivas hasn't won a championship since 1997. Atlas is an up-and-coming team with a chance to do well this season.

The five-match Copa Coors Light tour ends Wednesday with a rematch between Chivas and Atlas at Bakersfield.

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