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Chivas ready for first preseason test

Chivas USA will get its first test of the preseason Tuesday as the team battles Premier Development League (PDL) side The Ventura County Fusion. The game will be the Red-and-White's first since opening preseason camp last week.

After more than a week of double sessions, Chivas USA head coach Martín Vásquez will use the scrimmage as a chance to check the progress of his squad.

"It's a chance to gauge ourselves," said Sacha Kljestan. "It's a good way to look at ourselves to see how we've done in the first ten days of preseason."

This will be the second consecutive year that Chivas USA faces Ventura County in a preseason scrimmage. The Red-and-White were 4-0 winners last year, but the Fusion have since won the 2009 PDL Southwest Region Championship and look strong this year.

"They're a good team and I think it will be a good game for us," said Gerson Mayén, who saw time against the Fusion last year. "It's a chance for us to get a little better and hopefully everything goes well tomorrow."

With a host of new players in camp for the Red-and-White, the game against Ventura County will likely provide many of Chivas USA's draft picks and trialists a chance at their first professional action.

"I think it may be a lot of the younger guys on the field tomorrow," said Kljestan. "It gives the coaching staff a chance to see how they're doing and how they're coming along."

One of those younger guys is Chivas USA third-round draft pick Isaac Kissi. The Ghana native was selected 42nd overall in the 2010 SuperDraft. Kissi scored five goals and notched two assists during his senior year at The University of Dayton.

"We're slowly fitting into the style of play here," said Kissi. "Tomorrow will be our first chance to show what we've learned so far from last week. Personally, I'm excited to play and I guarantee all the new guys are as well."

"The coaches have done a good job to help us fit in and feel comfortable," he continued. "To repay them, we have to play well tomorrow."

While it may be younger faces on the field for the Red-and-White, the team's veteran players will be patrolling the sidelines to offer advice whenever they can.

"Hopefully I can find a few things to pick out and help the younger guys with," said Kljestan of his role for the scrimmage. "Usually when you play against opposition from a lower league, the game seems to slow down. The important thing for us is to play fast and make them play at our pace, which is way too fast for them."

Win or lose, Tuesday morning's scrimmage will serve as a good test for the team as they continue preparing for the start of their 2010 MLS season on March 26.

"When the season begins, you have to start off strong," said Mayén. "That's what we did last year and hopefully we can do the same this year."

Jeffrey King is a contributor to MLSnet.com.