Ahead of tomorrow’s playoff opener vs. Real Salt Lake, Chivas USA arrived this evening in Utah after a quick two-hour flight from LAX to Salt Lake City International Airport.
Particularly excited to be back home was rookie standout and Salt Lake City native Justin Braun. The 21-year-old forward saw a few minutes of action in his old stomping grounds during the team’s last trip to Utah, coming on as an 85th-minute sub in Chivas USA’s 1-0 win over Real Salt Lake on Sept. 20.
“It’s an amazing feeling,” said Braun, who was profiled in today's edition of the Deseret News. “It’s going to be nice to see the family and friends and I’m looking forward to hopefully playing in front of them.”
Having defeated RSL on their old turf at Rice-Eccles Stadium, Braun is anxious to check out the home team’s new digs.
“All my friends have been to Rio Tinto Stadium and they say it’s immaculate. They say it’s one of the best stadiums they’ve seen.”
And not only is Chivas USA expected to be cheered on by the traveling Union Ultras fan club (see below), plus assorted representatives from the Legión 1908 chapters of Utah, Colorado, Idaho and California; Braun is also expecting a contingent of his own.
“I’ll have a lot of friends and family there wearing the Chivas colors,” he said. “Last time here there were about 70 people, between my friends, family and friends of the family. So there should be a pretty good section for us.”
In addition, Chivas USA was accompanied on its mid-afternoon flight by a pair of journalists from Los Angeles: KMEX Univision 34 sports anchor Enrique Gutiérrez and cameraman Juan Paz. Gutiérrez will be reporting live from Salt Lake City before and after Game 1 of the Red-and-White’s Western Conference Semifinal Series. Tune in to Channel 34 at 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday nights to see more.
Meanwhile, by land, a bus carrying 50 members of the Union Ultras fan club is expected to depart at 9 p.m. PT Friday night from The Home Depot Center, to make the 10-hour trip to Salt Lake City in time for tomorrow’s match in nearby Sandy, Utah. Ultras members who are not traveling will be attending a special viewing party at Red Vest Pizza in Sylmar, Calif, to which all soccer fans are cordially invited.
Saturday’s Game 1 between Chivas USA and Real Salt Lake will be broadcast live at 3 p.m. PT (6 p.m. ET) across the U.S., on Fox Soccer Channel and Fox Sports en Español, and in Latin America on Fox Sports. The decisive Game 2 of the series takes place at The Home Depot Center on Nov. 8 at 7:30 p.m. PT.