In its first scrimmage of the 2009 preseason, Chivas USA downed Shandong Luneng Taishan F.C., the current Chinese Superleague Champions, by a score of 5-1. The match took place on University Field 2 at The Home Depot Center in Carson on Sunday morning.
While a number of new faces saw their first minutes for the Red-and-White, it was veterans Jesse Marsch and Carey Talley that led Chivas USA to victory. Marsch opened the scoring for the club, while Talley's 75th minute free kick was the highlight of the match.
"We had some decent spells of passing and were able to break them down," said Talley, whose free kick from just outside the 18-yard box curled around the wall and past the Shandong Luneng 'keeper to make the score 4-1.
The game started at a frantic pace, with each team trying to get a handle on its opponent's style. After a few chances for each side, Marsch broke the deadlock when his cross from 40 yards skipped untouched past the Chinese goalkeeper and into the net.
The Red-and-White settled into steady rhythm in the second half and again scored when a strong cross from Alecko Eskandarian ricocheted off one of Shandong Luneng's own players and into their net.
The Chinese Superleague Champions struck back in the 59th minute when Serbian striker Miljan Mrdakovi? slotted a low ball into the bottom left corner of Zach Thorton's net from 15 yards.
Chivas USA took the momentum back just two minutes later. Rookie Jamie Franks played a cross onto the foot of newcomer Gilson Tussi, who had just joined the team on Saturday, whose first-touch shot found the net for the Red-and-White's third goal.
The Red-and-White netted twice more in the final eleven minutes of the game. Carey Talley's 79th minute free kick was followed by rookie Kyle Christensen's glancing header off a Gerson Mayen corner kick in the 90th minute.
"I'm happy," said Talley after the match, "That first game is something that you need to get under your belt."
Chivas USA 5:1 Shandong Luneng Taishan F.C.
Preseason Scrimmage - Sunday, Feb. 8, 2009
University Field 2, The Home Depot Center - Carson, Calif.
CHV - Marsch (Mayen), 37
CHV - Own goal, 53
SLTFC - Miljan Mrdakovi?, 59
CHV - Tussi (Franks), 61
CHV - Talley, 79
CHV - Christensen (Mayen), 90