CARSON, Calif. – Those anticipating an immediate splash from MLS newcomer Adolfo “Bofo” Bautista might have to temper their expectations as Chivas USA appear to be easing their big offseason acquisition into the fold.
Bautista played only the second half of the Goats’ 2-0 scrimmage win over the USL PDL's Orange County Blues on Monday – mostly alongside backups – and afterward head coach Wilmer Cabrera explained his plan to slowly incorporate his 34-year-old forward into the mix.
“It’s a tough change for him because this is more physical,” Cabrera told MLSsoccer.com. “There’s more running, but his attitude and mentality are very positive. We want to take care of him. He’s working very well and I think it’s a good combination. We’re happy about that.”
Bautista, who signed with Chivas USA in January following mediocre stops at CD Guadalajara, Querétaro and Atlético San Luis in Liga MX the last few years, has shown a very good attitude and hard work ethic, according to Cabrera. At his introductory press conference last month, Bautista told reporters he was motivated to resurrect his career in MLS.
The Rojiblancos could use an inspired Bautista, whose last shining moment came in 2010 when he earned a spot on the Mexican national team for the World Cup in South Africa. He made five appearances with San Luis last year, but failed to score. His adaption to MLS could prove crucial for the Goats, who continue their search for a complement to productive forward Erick “Cubo” Torres atop the formation.
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“He is going to be important for us,” Cabrera said of Bautista. “He’s going to be the one who dictates and tells us how ready he’s going to be and how fast he’s adapting to the league. We are trying to take care of him, not to force him and not to bring him to some kind of responsibility that we are burning him.
“This league is different and this is the first time he’s out of Mexico. It takes time. We don’t want him to feel that he has the responsibility to be the man. No, Bofo is going to help us with his experience in games and his technique, but little by little, when he is ready, we’re going to let him go.”