CARSON, Calif. – Few players in MLS this season have seen their roles change as dramatically as Mariano Trujillo.
Last season, Trujillo served as Chivas USA's captain, appearing in 29 games for the Rojiblancos. This year, he sits near the bottom in games played for the team with just 11 appearances and no starts. Even for the veteran Trujillo, the change has been a difficult one to deal with.
"It was [a] day-and-night situation,” Trujillo told MLSsoccer.com. “Last year, I was the captain and I played most of the games, then this year was completely different. I just do what I always do though, I train hard during the week and every time I'm on the field, I do my best. Other than that, it's just the coaches’ decision; you as a player have to do your best and then the coach will decide if you're inside or outside.”
While Trujillo has slid down the depth chart, a number of players including Mike Lahoud, Zarek Valentin and Michael Umaña have each seen extended time at right back over the course of the season. Although the minutes have been scarce for the Mexican league veteran, Trujillo has had moments of effectiveness, earning one goal and one assist during his time on the field.
Always industrious, no matter the situation, Trujillo has become a key player for the Chivas USA reserve squad. Trujillo has earned one goal and three assists in Reserve League play, including an assist in the club’s 2-1 victory over the LA Galaxy reserves on Monday afternoon.
"I learned at an early age that you have to work for yourself, you can't wait for someone else to compliment you,” said Trujillo. “It was kind of hard for me this season, but I'm the same guy. I came here to practice and that's my motivation, I'm happy being on the field obviously but, I'd be happier to be starting."
With only two games remaining in the 2011 season, the veteran defender must now look ahead to an uncertain future. Trujillo says that although he has a team option on his contract for 2012, he still believes that he has something to contribute to Chivas USA.
“My desire is to stay here,” said Trujillo. “But soccer is up and down, so we'll see."
Adam Serrano covers Chivas USA for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org