MLS Preseason Tracker: Adolfo "Bofo" Bautista nets another winner for Chivas USA (Feb. 17)
The intensity is gradually ratcheting up as MLS preseason training continues at a variety of locations around the world. Catch all the other news and updates from MLS training camps below. And for the entire February preseason schedule, click here.
WHAT HAPPENS IN VEGAS: Adolfo "Bofo" Bautista found the back of the net once again for Chivas USA on Sunday night, as they rallied in Sin City to pick up their third victory of the 2014 preseason.
Chivas USA defeated the Colorado Rapids, 2-1, in the Las Vegas ProSoccer Challenge courtesy of penalty kicks from Bautista and Erick "Cubo" Torres. The Rapids initially took the lead through a finish from Deshorn Brown in the 16th minute, but Torres pulled the Goats level three minutes later. Bofo then came through in the clutch with an 83rd-minute goal after rookie Thomas McNamara was brought down in the penalty area.
Chivas USA now head to Tucson, Ariz., to compete in the Desert Diamond Cup, where they will face tournament host FC Tucson on Wednesday.
GREAT FINISH, BOTCHED CELEBRATION: The Vancouver Whitecaps defeated the University of Victoria, 1-0, in a friendiy on Sunday off of a late goal from rookie Andre Lewis. Here are the highlights of the match, which are worth watching over and over again if only because of Lewis' comically, poor-executed celebration (at the 4:20 mark).
FIRE MAKE STRIDES IN BRADENTON: The Chicago Fire are in the beginning phases of a new era under Frank Yallop, and the early returns indicate that the club is making progress.
The Fire just concluded their preseason stay in Bradenton, Fla., by going 3-0 and not conceding a single goal in their friendlies. The club posted a video on their site documenting their successful trip to Bradenton, and it highlighted the healthy but intense competition at center back as well as the addition of young midfielder Benji Joya.
ROUGH START FOR FERNÁNDEZ: Recent D.C. United-signing Cristian Fernández will miss the next week of the club's preseason preparations after undergoing surgery on his right hand. The 28-year-old defender, a product of Racing Santander's youth system, sustained a fracture to his second metacarpal while training in Bradenton, Fla.
Fernández signed with D.C. United on Feb. 7 and is expected to compete for a starting spot on the club's revamped backline.
CASSAR ANSWERS FAN QUESTIONS: New Real Salt Lake coach Jeff Cassar fielded questions from fans at the team's 2014 Open House event Saturday. Among the questions from the knowledgable group were if Cassar would change RSL's trademark midfield diamond formation, his squad rotation policy, and his reaction to Toronto FC splashing the cash on their roster this offseason.
YOUTH MOVEMENT IN DALLAS: FC Dallas' attack has been bolstered in recent months by the addition of several youngsters, and several of them will likely have to make an impact this season in order for the club to be successful.
Six attacking players younger than 23 have been signed by FC Dallas In the past nine months, including rookie Tesho Akindele and Brian Span, and they will need to complement the likes of established veterans Blas Pérez and Je-Vaughn Watson in 2014 given the void left behind by Kenny Cooper and David Ferreira. But this youth movement has not happened by chance, and it sounds as if it could be the continued adopted method by the Hoops.
"When you try to create a structure and keep it for many years to come, of course you need to have youth," FC Dallas technical director Fernando Clavijo told the club's website. "And have players you can work with and build them around how you want to be in the future."
HIGUAIN GETTING UP TO SPEED: After battling an illness to start training camp, Columbus Crew midfielder Federico Higuaín had some catching up to do under new coach Gregg Berhalter. But now that the Argentine is getting into a rhythm ahead of the season, it looks like he could thrive in the new, possession-oriented system.
"I think all the coaching staffs around the League taking to a possession-based game," Higuaín said on the team's website. "I think it's great. Right now we have a lot of new guys in the squad, so it's going to take some time to develop [on-field chemistry], but I think it'll work out for the best."
And if Higuaín performed well in his first two seasons with the Crew, watch out for what he might accomplish this year.
IMPACT, NEW SIGNING GONZALEZ TRAINING IN FLORIDA: The Montreal Impact released a batch of photos of the team training in Orlando ahead of the Disney Pro Soccer Classic preseason tournament beginning this week. Among the sights was recent signing Santiago Gonzalez in action on the field with his new club.
GALAXY DPs vs. RED BULL DPs: The start of the regular season may still be a few weeks away, but that is not stopping stars from colliding. Virtually, of course.
New York Red Bulls Designated Players Tim Cahill and Thierry Henry took on LA Galaxy Designated Players Landon Donovan and Omar Gonzalez in a good old fashioned FIFA 14 match at Red Bull Arena on Monday afternoon, and were not able to pick up the victory despite the homefield advantage. The Galaxy stars grabbed a 1-0 victory thanks to a late goal from none other than LA's other Designated Player, virtual Robbie Keane.
— LA Galaxy (@LAGalaxy) February 17, 2014
RED BULLS TRIO ENJOY NBA ALL-STAR FESTIVITES: Prior to returning to the New York area, Henry, Cahill and Red Bulls midfielder Lloyd Sam all wrapped up an eventful weekend off in New Orleans by attending the NBA All-Star game on Sunday night. Apparently someone thought it was a good idea to photobomb the trio on the hardwood.