CARSON, Calif. – With a flurry of changes following the arrival of new head coach José Luis Sánchez Solá, a.k.a. "El Chelís," the Chivas USA roster has been one of the most fluid this offseason.
The latest move came on Wednesday when the club dealt midfielder Ben Zemanski to the Portland Timbers in exchange for allocation money and the rights to former Chivas USA defender Jonathan Bornstein.
Activity figures to slow down considerably, though. Sánchez Solá re-affirmed to MLSsoccer.com this week that he was no longer assessing any of the 29 camp participants and already has a starting lineup in mind for Friday night’s exhibition match against the Colorado Rapids in Las Vegas.
WATCH: Sneak peek at Chivas USA training
“The 11 we use on Friday will be the most important players for Chivas this season,” Sánchez Solá said. “This will be the first time we have to break up. Some will stay and some will go. ... This week we started to follow what a typical in-season week will look like. We’ll be thinking solely on the weekend’s opponent, though it’s an exhibition in this case, but that’s how we’ll do it to prepare ourselves.”
Chelís added that he’d like to keep all the players he has in camp, but the decisions are now in the hands of club sporting director Dennis te Kloese.
Trialists Walter Vílchez and Joaquín Velásquez, both of whom played under “El Chelís” at Mexican side Puebla, appear to have solidified their standing in Los Angeles.
“They are the only two players I brought because they know my playing style and how I communicate,” Sánchez Solá said about Vílchez and Velásquez. “They are indispensable to me.”
Despite the high praise from Sánchez Solá, the club would not comment on their potential future signings except to say that "the organization and players are looking at several options that benefit both parties." And per club policy, none of the trialists have been made available to media for interviews during the preseason.
Sánchez Solá said he was unaware of any other possible additions. According to reports, 19-year-old Juan Pablo Ocegueda was set to join camp after training with Guadalajara’s third-division affiliate in Mexico. Ocegueda was named to the US Under-20 national team earlier this month.
“I know he’s a young kid who was born in the United States with Mexican parents,” Sánchez Solá said. “That’s it. That’s all I know. I’m not sure who has his rights at this moment.”