CARSON, Calif. – Marcos Mondaini's first season in MLS was a tumultuous one.
Arriving from Argentina at the start of the season, Mondaini quickly became one of head coach Robin Fraser's main attack options through his ability to create scoring chances.
But the 26-year-old forward’s momentum was halted on May 7, when his tackle on Real Salt Lake star Javier Morales left the midfielder severely injured. The challenge left Morales with a broken left ankle, and put Mondaini on the sidelines with a four-game suspension.
The incident also left Mondaini emotional, but he was able to use turn that for motivation and scored two of his three goals immediately after returning from suspension.
“There were ups and downs, good times and bad times,” Mondaini told MLSsoccer.com. “But in my first year in the league, when I put it on the balance, there were more positives than negatives.”
As the season wore on, the struggles continued for Mondaini, who played sparingly during the midsummer months.
Once again, the Argentine remained resilient, and by the end of the season, Mondaini fought his way back to the starting lineup, starting the final two matches of the season and going the distance in each one.
Unfortunately for him, he wasn’t able to help the Rojiblancos advance to the MLS Cup Playoffs, their second straight season of missing out.
“At the end of the day, though, it wasn't about me, but about the team,” Mondaini said, “and we're disappointed that we didn't qualify for the playoffs.”
With his first season in MLS in the books, the Boca Juniors product feels he has something still to prove in the league and has set his sights on the future, one he hopes includes a long and prosperous stay with Chivas USA.
“I'd love to stay here,” Mondaini said. “The league surprised me a lot for the better. Obviously, I'd love to stick around for a long time. I'm very happy and content here and my desire is to remain here.”
Adam Serrano covers Chivas USA for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.