Photo by Juan Miranda/Chivas USA
Chivas USA defender-midfielder Carey Talley is a journeyman closing in on 300 MLS appearances for five teams over 11 seasons. A Carey Talley fun factoid: he is the answer to the trivia question – who was waiting to make his first appearance for the national team as a (very) late sub when the game was called and has never won a U.S. cap? Talley joined Chivas USA from Real Salt Lake in May and has established himself as a regular, starting 18 of the 20 games he has played for the club. He chatted via e-mail ahead of the Chivas USA-Real Salt Lake playoff opener set for 3 p.m. Saturday.
Q: First off, Real Salt Lake got in the playoffs in perhaps the most dramatic fashion possible – a 90th minute equalizer against the Rapids. Were you surprised?
A: It was a little surprising to me because I thought they got outplayed in the game, and they kept going, and going, and in the 90th minute, a guy who I don’t think has gotten a lot of credit from around the league, Andy Williams, comes through. He was very close to getting the goal, but he makes the play happen. Andy, in the right spot, battled a guy off, got his toe on it and they’re in it. I was as surprised as anybody, being in the 90th minute, but all credit to them, they kept going, and I was happy to see that Andy was such a big part of that goal because he’s been a good friend of mine for a while, and I think he deserved it.
Q:Is there any special resonance about playing your old team in the playoffs – especially at Rio Tinto Stadium, which you’ve never played in, but awaited for so long as a Real Salt Lake player?
A: I’m really trying not to look at this as any different an opponent from any other one we could’ve met up with. The series that we played with them was a pretty tough series, each team getting an away result.
I had gone through the whole process (of the stadium). I was excited to see them get it, and I was hoping that Chivas would get to play in Rio Tinto this year, and now we’re getting to go back there and play in it. What I’ve heard from everybody is that it’s a great stadium, it’s a great atmosphere, and I assume that since it’s the first playoff game in the history of that club, it’s going to be going pretty crazy there.
Q: This year’s Real Salt Lake media guide profile of you began – “Death, taxes and Carey Talley could become the new phrase for reliability as the veteran midfielder returns for his 11th season in MLS and third as a member of Real Salt Lake.” Then in May they traded you. Any lingering resentment over that? Do you have something to prove? Or did you understand and accept what Jason Kreis was trying to do for the team with the trade?
A: I knew that I had to leave. That was between me, Jason, and their GM. There are reasons behind it, but I’m in a good place now with Chivas USA and I’m very happy. This is the place for me, and I’m happy to be here.
Q: How are you feeling physically after the long season and especially after suffering a concussion? Was that hard to come back from?
A: I’ve had a couple of those before, and this was the first time that I’ve had some real lingering effects on it. That went on for about two weeks. I’d never experienced anything over a couple of days, so I was a little worried about that, but now it’s back to normal. I’m ready to go. I couldn’t be more ready for this playoff run. It’s not because we’re going against Salt Lake, it’s just the first time I’ve been in the playoffs in the last two years, so I’m ready to get this off and running.
Q: How does Chivas USA match up with Real Salt Lake? What weaknesses do they have the club can exploit?
A: I think that’s something that we’re reviewing as a team and trying to go over. They’re a good team, and they’ve proven to be a good team. That’s what’s done it in this league – it hasn’t always been the prettiest soccer team out there that’s won, it’s been the best team – the best group of guys that can keep it together for five or six games in a row, and they’re definitely a side where there’s quality.
Q: You’re 32 years old now and in a league where inexpensive youth is apparently often more valued than an experienced, but more expensive veteran, is there a sense of urgency to return to MLS Cup at your age, especially since the final is at Home Depot Center this year? How long do you plan on playing?
A: I’d like to go until 34 or 35, but that all depends on how well the teams that I’m on are doing, of course. I’d love to be in MLS Cup again. I’ve only been in two, and I’d like to be at the third one, especially with the fans that we have here who have shown support when it got a little rough in the summer. They kept coming out to the games, and the fan support in my opinion has been tremendous. To come out and make it a Chivas stadium that day would be very good for us. Like I said, it’s great here in LA, and the atmosphere that’s provided by the fans, and Chivas – it’s great to be here.