CARSON, Calif. – Chivas USA have impressed many in their preseason preparations, but they make have takent a step back in a scoreless draw against D.C. United on Friday at the Home Depot Center.
The team was able to dominate stretches of the game, but unable to find a scoring touch. Despite countless efforts forward from the likes of Alejandro Moreno, Alan Gordon and Tristan Bowen, the team did not have a legitimate chance till late in the match, when Jesus Padilla forced a save from Pat Onstad.
After the match, head coach Robin Fraser was visibly disappointed with how his team performed.
“Based on today, I’m not really happy at all, but I’ve been really pleased with our progress up until today," he said. "To be honest, I thought we weren’t as good as we needed to be in every aspect of the game. For them it’s as much of a disappointment as it is for me, it’s not where they want to be and it’s not where I’d like them to be right now.”
Scoring help may come from an unlikely source, however, in the face of an MLS legend and former opponent of Fraser. After the match and a short field intra-squad scrimmage, Fraser revealed that Stern John (above) was joining the Rojiblancos for training camp.
[inline_node:327671]The Trinidadian forward is currently battling back from a knee injury that helped cut short his stint with English side Ipswich Town in 2010. During his career in MLS, John played for the Columbus Crew from 1998 to 1999 and was the Golden Boot winner in his first year with 26 goals while tying for the lead in goals scored with 18 in 1999.
John has also spent extensive time in England with a number of clubs including Nottingham Forest, Coventry City and Sunderland. He also was instrumental in taking the Soca Warriors to the 2006 World Cup, where he appeared in all three group stage matches.
While training off to the side, John hammered home a number of impressive goals past Sergio Arias. For a team that had trouble scoring against United, the inclusion of the 34-year-old John is a welcome one for Fraser.
“He’s coming off an injury and he’s looking for an opportunity to get on with a club, but when a guy has scored goals like he has in the places he has, you take a look at him,” Fraser said. “He is one of [the best MLS goal-scorers] I know."
In addition to John, the Rojiblancos are also looking at Argentine winger Marcos Mondaini. The 26-year-old spent last year with Colombian side Atlético Nacional and developed in the youth system of storied Argentine club Boca Juniors.
Mondaini was active during the last 45 minutes of action for Chivas USA and sent in several attacking crosses while playing on the right side of midfield. Following the match, Fraser admitted that the club will likely have an answer shortly on another trialist Colombian defender Jimmy Asprilla, who has impressed during his time with the club. Fraser stated that it will likely come down to whether he warrants an international roster spot.
The Goats also saw the retun of goalkeeper Dan Kennedy, who played much of the second half in his first action since picking up an injury in a match against Toronto FC last August. Kennedy should challenge Arias for the backup spot behind Zach Thornton once he has returned to full fitness.
"He’s been doing very well; he nursed some injuries and he’s been coming along,” Fraser said. “Over the last week to 10 days, we’ve seen more of him and he’s done well.”
While Kennedy has returned, Fraser was uncertain on when midfielder Blair Gavin will return to the club. He stated that Gavin is not facing a long-term injury and he's hopeful that Gavin will be able to return before the opening match against Sporting Kansas City on March 19.
Adam Serrano covers Chivas USA for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter: @adamserrano
Check out the Feb. 24 edition of the ExtraTime Radio podcast, featuring D.C. United's Charlie Davies, Real Salt Lake's Nick Rimando and league executive Nelson Rodriguez talking about the new playoff structure.