CARSON, Calif. - Throughout preseason, Club Deportivo Chivas USA has seemingly taken any and all comers, from college teams to Major League Soccer clubs to international sides.
Saturday, the expansion club wrapped up its first preseason with a less-than-stellar outing against Spanish outfit Osasuna. Chivas USA dropped a 1-0 score to the visiting Spaniards in the final tune-up before opening the MLS season against D.C. United on April 2.
Against Osasuna, Chivas USA mixed in both the good and bad. On the positive side, Chivas USA's defense yielded few opportunities to Osasuna, even without Costa Rican international Douglas Sequeira in the center of the defense. The final quarter-hour saw a lot of opportunities for the Red-and-White but timely Osasuna defensive effort and poor finishing kept the ball from going into the net.
On the other hand, however, Chivas USA put together few scoring chances outside of the final quarter-hour and the opening minutes of the match.
"There are still a few areas we need to improve on," Chivas USA Coach Thomas Rongen said. "All in all, I'm not happy with the result. I'm pleased with some areas of the game but still there's room for a lot of improvement.
"With an expansion team, you can expect for us to get better each and every week. Through hard work and some patience we'll continue to make some strides."
Also, Chivas USA 'keeper Brad Guzan made a mistake that led to Osasuna's goal. In the 70th minute, Osasuna's Inaki Munoz sailed a curving free kick from 30 yards out on the right side into the penalty area. Guzan mistimed his run toward the ball and left the back post open. Osasuna's Valmiro Lopez tapped the cross into an open net.
Still, Rongen expects good things from Guzan.
"Brad has done a great job as a young player ... since Martin (Zuñiga) went down against the U.S. national team," he said. "We know he's going to make some mistakes. He's (20) years old. The game is very fast, a lot faster than he's used to. We also made some errors not attacking the ball aggressively on the back post but we feel that this kid has some qualities and a guy that we have to rely on at least for a few weeks to play for us."
Chivas USA striker Arturo Torres said the time for making adjustments is now.
"Whatever it is that we need to work on, we've got a week to work on it," said Torres, who started and played 60 minutes against Osasuna. "Today was a tough match... but the game we're focusing on is Saturday's game (against D.C. United)."
So what is it exactly that Chivas USA needs to work on?
"It's tough to point out," Torres said. "It's a new team. They bring 20-24 players together that never played together. It's tough to get a team like that together and start off winning."
The team returns to training Monday with a clear objective: prepare to jump-start the franchise against the defending champions before a national television audience.
"I think overall you've got to say we're quite pleased," Rongen said. "Are we completely ready for the season? We're not clicking on all cylinders but we are making strides and we are improving."
Luis Bueno is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.