Chivas' Zizzo excited to return to San Diego

MF expects 70 friends and family for hometown ChivaClásico

CARSON, Calif. — Though it's likely all on Chivas USA’s roster are excited for Tuesday evening’s ChivaClásico battle with sister club Chivas de Guadalajara, there may be none more eager than Sal Zizzo.

The new Goats midfielder is thrilled to be able to play in his hometown of San Diego, and is champing at the bit for his chance to step onto the pitch at PETCO Park.

“The ChivaClásico is a big game for me,” Zizzo told MLSsoccer.com. “I’m from San Diego – there’s going to be probably 70 people there that I know. It’s crazy. That’s going to be a really fun game. I’m looking forward to it.

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“Everyone I’ve told about the game says they’re going. I’m sure it’s going to be pretty packed. It’s just going to be fun for them to see me. I was in Germany for three years; nobody ever got to see me play. Going to San Diego will be pretty cool.”

Chivas USA have teamed up with the San Diego Padres to hold the ChivaClásico at PETCO Park, the home stadium of the MLB club. The game will be the second international soccer match ever played in the park; the first was an International Friendly between Mexico and Sweden on Jan. 26, 2005.

“I’m a big Padres fan, so it’s going to be awesome to be in PETCO Park,” Zizzo said. “I never thought I’d get to play a professional game in San Diego. It was kind of a surprise to me.”

San Diego has always been soccer crazy, but the city made a name for itself on the sport’s national scene this past June when it pulled down the highest regional TV ratings for the World Cup of any metropolitan area in America. Needless to say, the crowd at Tuesday evening’s match will likely be a lively one.

“San Diego is very big on soccer,” Zizzo said. “During the World Cup, everyone was waking up early and watching all the games. I think it’s a great soccer atmosphere in San Diego. There are lots of club teams down there, and it’s really doing well.”

Chivas USA are smack in the middle of a playoff hunt, but the Red-and-White aren’t taking Tuesday’s game lightly. Goats head coach Martín Vásquez announced on Friday that he would use his first XI for 45 to 60 minutes of the game, and Zizzo insists that the players are excited for a chance to defeat their Mexican counterparts.

“Especially with us being sister clubs, there are going to be a lot of emotions for that game,” Zizzo said. “It’s going to be cool.”