Chivas USA resumed practices at The Home Depot Center on Friday morning after a week-long preseason trip to Mexico. The Red-and-White wasted no time in getting back to work, playing small sided-games and working on fitness.
The trip to Mexico saw the team play two preseason games as the club continues to prepare for the 2010 MLS regular season.
"It was a good trip," said striker Justin Braun. "I think we were pretty happy with the first result, and although we maybe could have done better with the second game, we played well as a unit and are really starting to gel as a team."
The Red-and-White's first match was a 3-1 victory over Mexican second division team Irapuato on Feb. 13. Two goals from Maykel Galindo led the way for Chivas USA.
"That first game was a big result for us," said Chivas USA head coach Martín Vásquez. "Irapuato is a good, well-established team. We had to play them in their home stadium, in front of 15,000 fans, on a field that was not so great. I'm proud of our guys for getting the job done and never complaining."
Chivas USA then battled Mexican second division side Universidad de Guadalajara on Feb. 16. After falling behind in the 33rd minute, Justin Braun drew the Red-and-White even 10 minutes later, but U de G. rallied for a late goal to take the match 2-1.
"We used the second game to give everybody a chance to play," said Vásquez. "It helped give us a sense of who can really help our team for the coming season as we continue to evaluate our roster."
The Red-and-White have now scored 15 goals in five preseason games, which is welcome news for a club that scored the lowest number of goals in the Western Conference in 2009.
"I think a lot of [our new offense] is because of Martín [Vásquez]," said Braun, who has two goals so far in 2010. "He really pushes us to move forward and take our chances. It's also true that we have a lot of guys who are hungry and want to score goals."
Chivas USA continue their preseason Saturday with a scrimmage against National Premier Soccer League side San Diego Boca FC.
"It will be a really different opponent," said Braun. "The Mexican teams like to play a slower, more possession-based game. Now that we're back here [in the U.S.], I expect the team on Saturday to play a more MLS-type style.
"We're all excited to keep playing and keep improving," he continued. "I think we're really starting to click and we want to continue that momentum into the regular season."