Goat Notes: Chivas sparkle in first preseason victory
CARSON, Calif. – Chivas USA bagged their first win of the preseason on Friday morning, defeating local National Premier Soccer League side FC Hasental, 5-0 at the Home Depot Center.
The Rojiblancos used a first-choice lineup at the outset and quickly got on the board, tallying in the 22nd minute when Michael Lahoud cut through the defense for the 1-0 lead. Two minutes later, Juan Pablo Ángel converted a penalty kick after a Hasental handball in the box. Ryan Smith finished the scoring for the first team in the 40th minute when he scooped up a rebound off a save and fired a shot from 30 yards into the corner of the net.
In the second half, the Rojiblancos made widespread changes bringing in a roster that was predominately non-contracted players.
The goal onslaught didn’t stop, though. Chivas went 4-0 up in the 50th minute when Jorge Villafaña set up forward Chris Cortez, who easily converted. They added their final goal a minute from time with trialist Cesar Romero banging one home.
The match was the first game action for offseason signing Oswaldo Minda, who joined up with the squad last week. Minda gave a solid account of himself in 45 minutes of work, starting in central midfield alongside Pete Vagenas.
With the club beginning the final month of preparations before the start of the season, the Goats were encouraged by their dominant performance.
“We’re looking at specific things,” head coach Robin Fraser told reporters on Friday. “How we move as a unit, our thoughts attacking-wise, and it’s great to see for a group of guys that is basically playing together for the first time [have] a number of good ideas. Cohesion was decent and it’ll get better, but at the end of it, as we’re trying to get results going forward, it’s important.”
TRIALIST SHINES: One of the bright spots of the second-half lineup, which was made up primarily of non-contract players and academy players, was Romero, a former US U-18 player.
Playing up top, Romero caused havoc for the Hasental defense during his 45 minutes of action, eventually scoring with a right footed shot from the edge of the box in the 89th minute.
Romero is not an unknown quality to the Rojiblancos, having played alongside midfielder Blair Gavin while with the U-18s.
“He’s interesting,” said Fraser. “He’s a dynamic forward, he looks to make a lot of runs going forward, he has a quick release of his shot and he’s very much an attack minded player. He’s certainly been intriguing to this point.”
LOPES, BOLAÑOS ARRIVE IN CAMP: While the rest of the squad was hammering Hasental, two of Chivas USA's key pieces for the upcoming season trained off to the side.
Brazilian defender David Júnior Lopes and Ecuadorian Miller Bolaños arrived in Los Angeles on Wednesday and have spent the past two days working on conditioning with fitness coach Jim Liston. Delayed due to visa issues, the pair spent the Friday session working with Gavin, first-round SuperDraft pick Casey Townsend and trialist Mario Ledezma.
“It’s early, we have to get them fit to prevent injury if nothing else,” said Fraser. “We have to get them and ready to throw them back into the soccer. It’ll be a few tough days of running and getting them into the stuff that the group has already been through, but then we’ll get them involved as soon as we feel that it is appropriate physically.”
Adam Serrano covers Chivas USA for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org