CARSON, Calif. – Chivas USA are in the midst of a learning process this preseason, and they showed their development and resolve on Thursday in a scrimmage against the LA Galaxy.
After going down 3-0 to the Galaxy, the Rojiblancos scored two unanswered goals in the second half but fell to their cross-hall rivals 3-2.
Mike Lahoud, who could be considered Chivas' MVP so far this preseason, actively stretched out the Galaxy defense from the right flank and, in the 53rd minute, scored an unassisted goal to cut the lead to 3-1.
Part of the second-half revival for Chivas centered on the midfield play of Blair Gavin and Pete Vagenas, who entered the match in the 72nd minute as the Rojiblancos attempted to fight their way back into the match, but it wasn't until the 77th minute that Jorge Villafaña was able to find trialist Cesar Romero with a one-timed a cross to cut the lead to one.
With learning experiences paramount as the club looks ahead to the start of the season on March 11, Chivas USA head coach Robin Fraser was pleased with the growth his team showed in the second half.
“In the second half, we came out with a little more resolve in terms of how we wanted to play against them, so as a result we were able to turn the game in our favor and create some good opportunities,” Fraser told reporters after the match.
“This is a learning process, since you’re going to see different sorts of teams, and the way that the Galaxy played is the first team that we’ve seen a team that plays this way this year and we just have to learn from it.
“They were pretty direct and credit to their forwards, they were real handfuls and a real nuisance and I think that it was a learning process for how we want to deal with that defensively and how we want to deal with that when we have the ball.”
Chivas cut two from camp
The Goats thinned out their preseason camp ranks, releasing Supplemental Draft choices R.J. Allen and Fabian Kling.
Allen, a defender from Monmouth, played in all five preseason games, appearing as a sub in four games and going a full 60 minutes against the Montreal Impact on Tuesday. Kling, meanwhile, made two appearances, coming on in the second half of the match against FC Hasental and a full 60 against Montreal.
With MLS’ roster compliant date just two weeks away, Fraser admitted that the Rojiblancos are considering having a full 30-man roster by March 1.
“It’s premature to say for sure, you can't have plans set in stone now ... but you never know what guys are going to fall through with other teams,” said Fraser. “There are possibilities that more players could pop up, but realistically, I don’t think we’ll get to 30 [on the roster]. But certainly our eyes are open.”
Villafaña called into US U-23 squad
Used primarily at left back by Caleb Porter, Villafaña will continue his stint on the US Under-23 squad after receiving the call on Thursday for the team’s training camp in Frisco, Texas.
Villafaña will be with Chivas USA until Feb. 19 before departing to join the U-23s. The 10-day training camp culminates in a Feb. 29 match against Mexico’s U-23s at FC Dallas Stadium.
With CONCACAF’s Olympic qualifying tournament beginning in late March, Villafaña is encouraged by his continued presence on Porter’s squad.
“It’s really positive that they keep on calling me,” Villafaña told MLSsoccer.com on Thursday. “It shows that they like how I’m playing and I’ll just keep doing my work to show that I deserve to be on the team.”
Adam Serrano covers Chivas USA for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org