With the arduous task of piecing together a roster nearly complete, CD Chivas USA has finally started to give fans an idea of what to expect this season.
CD Chivas USA has played three friendlies in the past two weeks and has a spotless 3-0 mark. On Feb. 16, CD Chivas USA beat USL side San Diego 2-0. On Feb. 22, a full-strength CD Chivas USA beat Loyola Marymount 2-1.
Friday, the club demolished UCLA, 5-0, with an impressive and overwhelming offensive performance. Matt Taylor had a remarkable showing, scoring twice and collecting an assist. The starting forward trio of Taylor, Isaac Romo and Alonso Sandoval finished with four goals and two assists. Taylor's replacement, Arturo Torres, also assisted on the game's final tally.
CD Chivas USA Coach Thomas Rongen said the club always looks to attack and hopes to have more games like the one against UCLA.
"That's what we like to do. That's our philosophy," Rongen said. "Sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn't but today clearly it worked out well for us."
The task in next 10 days will become more challenging for CD Chivas USA.
Next week, the club will play friendlies against the U.S. national team and two-time MLS Cup champions San Jose Earthquakes. On March 8, CD Chivas USA will play Mexican First Division side Atlante.
The tasks in all preseason friendlies remain the same.
"You play these games to get better, to acquire fitness, some group and team tactics, to look at some players, to try and find some rhythm," Rongen said.
The starting lineups provide a glimpse of what the team may look like when it takes the field against MLS champions D.C. United in the April 2 season opener at Home Depot Center.
"We try to play seven or eight key guys together as often as possible. It's a nucleus for us," Rongen said.
Against UCLA, CD Chivas USA's starting lineup was: goalkeeper Martin Zuñiga; defenders Ezra Hendrickson, Jesus Ochoa, Orlando Perez; midfielders Francisco Gomez, Hector Cuadros, Ramon Ramirez, Francisco Mendoza; forwards Taylor, Romo and Sandoval.
Only Perez and Sandoval did not start against Loyola Marymount, but both came on as second-half substitutes.
In the second half against UCLA, Rongen brought in goalkeeper Brad Guzan, defenders Esteban Arias and Aaron Lopez, midfielders Armando Begines and Thiago Martins and strikers Torres and Christian Jimenez.
Nothing, however, is set in stone. Douglas Sequeira officially joined the club Friday via trade with Real Salt Lake in exchange for a second-round draft pick in 2007. Alfonso Loera has been hurt and both defenders were unavailable against UCLA.
"We've still got a month to go before opening day," Rongen said. "Only time will tell who the starting 11 will be."
Luis Bueno is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.