CARSON, Calif. – Chivas USA manager José Luis “El Chelís” Sánchez Solá might have finally found his left midfielder.
Last weekend, Jorge Villafaña became the fourth different player to start at the position this season, and notched an assist for the second straight game. Through five games, the longest-tenured member of Chivas USA has already set a new career high with two assists – not bad for a player who missed the first three matches and all the preseason due to an ankle injury.
“When you have the chance, you have to take advantage of it,” Villafaña said following Saturday's 2-1 victory against the Vancouver Whitecaps.
Villafaña, 23, came on as a substitute on March 24 against the Chicago Fire, and did enough to earn the starting nod the next week. Giovani Casillas, Laurent Courtois and Josue Soto had all gotten looks at left midfield in previous games, but neither Courtois nor Soto were part of the 18-player gameday roster against Vancouver.
All other positions have seemingly been cemented.
“Villafaña has it, but Soto can’t stay far behind and neither can Courtois,” Chelís told MLSsoccer.com last week.
Villafaña, who through two games has already matched his previous career total in assists, grew visibly frustrated in the first half as Chivas USA failed to move the ball rapidly. He wasn’t getting touches despite calling for the ball. Eventually, Villafaña calmed down and managed to contribute on Eric Avila’s dazzling volley that gave the Rojiblancos a comfortable 2-0 advantage.
“We weren’t moving the ball quickly and weren’t getting to open spaces quickly,” Villafaña told MLSsoccer.com. “In the second half we did a much better job. Eric and I, we got the ball faster and opened up the game. That’s how we got the second goal."
Villafaña said this Chivas USA team is the best he’s been a part of since he joined the organization in 2007.
“This is the best team that has worked together as a team,” he added. “I’m very happy for the team and I hope we can keep building.”