CARSON, Calif. — Chivas USA have a distinctly Kiwi flavor this season, and now their duo from New Zealand are being rewarded with a call-up to their national team.
Andrew Boyens and teammate Simon Elliott were both called up to New Zealand’s matches against Mexico on June 1 in Denver and arcrivals Australia in Adelaide on June 5. The pair have been instrumental for Chivas USA in 2011, earning starting positions in central defense and midfield, respectively.
That means there will soon be some gaps to fill, as Elliott and Boyens will miss a pair of matches: first against the Vancouver Whitecaps on June 1, then against the Portland Timbers on June 5.
“It’s always an honor and I love playing for my country,” Boyens told MLSsoccer.com. “Unfortunately this time around, the two games that I play with New Zealand land on the two games for Chivas, which is unfortunate because I miss being here playing. But playing for your country is an honor and I’m proud to be called up.”
The careers of the Kiwi duo have been revived with Chivas USA after a topsy-turvy 2010 that saw them represent their nation in the World Cup in South Africa, only to return to a pair of unstable club situations. Boyens spendt much of the season on the bench with the New York Red Bulls and Elliott spent a year away from MLS with A-League side Wellington Phoenix.
Central to the success of the Kiwi duo at Chivas has been their ability to work in tandem with other players on the field. While Elliott provides the defensive grit in central midfield, his partner in the center of the field Nick LaBrocca provides the offensive punch.
In Boyens’s case, the Kiwi defender has found an effective partnership with defender Heath Pearce in central defense. Since Boyens and Pearce formed their partnership during a scoreless draw against the Whitecaps on April 16, the Rojiblancos have conceded only two goals while the two have been paired together.
“It’s going pretty well, our goals against tells a pretty good story and I think that not only on that, the shots that we’ve given up are pretty low,” said Boyens. “Working with Heath is great, and I feel like we have a pretty good connection, and when you have a good connection then things will gel a bit better.”
Adam Serrano covers Chivas USA for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter: @adamserrano