Chivas USA earned a pair of preseason victories on Saturday morning at The Home Depot Center, twice downing amateur side San Diego Boca FC in two 60-minute matches. The Red-and-White fielded a unique lineup for each game, which allowed both the veterans and newcomers a chance for some extended minutes on the field.
The first game saw the Red-and-White's current starting 11 battle from a goal down to secure a comfortable 5-1 victory. Mariano Trujillo provided most of the offensive spark, earning assists on four Chivas USA goals.
"It was a lucky day for me," said Trujillo with a smile. "But I think the team played well and I'm happy we were able to get the win."
Trujillo spent most of the 2009 season as a defender for Chivas USA, but got the start in the midfield for Saturday's scrimmage.
"I have played in the midfield before and I like doing it," said Trujillo. "My goal is to make the starting lineup for the season, so I'm happy to play wherever I'm needed. The coach and I have talked about it and I will do whatever the team needs."
At the other end of the field, Chivas USA goalkeeper Dan Kennedy quickly got over San Diego's first counterattack goal to settle into a good rhythm for the Red-and-White defense.
"Sometimes, there's just nothing you can do about it," said Kennedy of San Diego's 12th-minute goal. "We were unlucky. A couple of missed tackles and some good bounces and it was in the net. But it was good that we had to battle back from a goal down. That's a good lesson for us."
Kennedy is relishing every minute on the field after a knee injury during the 2009 preseason kept him on the sidelines for the entirety of last year.
"I'm really happy to be back playing again," he said. "I'm just focusing on improving my game and enjoying being back out on the field."
Chivas USA's second match saw a number of the team's new faces and trialists take the field. The team jumped ahead quickly on an unassisted Chukwudi Chijindu goal in the 12th minute and never looked back. Goals from Artur Aghasyan and Armando Ochoa sealed a 3-0 victory for the Red-and-White.
"I think the game went well for us," said 2010 draft pick Ben Zemansky. "We were able to find good space and attack their holes. I think we showed good improvement."
Zemansky, selected 47th overall in the 2010 MLS SuperDraft, played the entirety of the second match in a defensive midfield position. The University of Akron alumnus did well in the role, marshalling the center of the field and stifling San Diego's attack.
"I think the coach likes me in a defensive midfield role," said Zemansky. "I'm pretty comfortable there, and I've been getting good advice from some of the older players. I think I've gotten better already this preseason."
Chivas USA will now travel to Phoenix, Arizona, in a training trip that will see the team take on its first MLS competition of the 2010 preseason. The Red-and-White will face the Kansas City Wizards next Wednesday before battling 2008 MLS champion Columbus Crew on Saturday, Feb. 27.
"I think we're ready for MLS competition," said Trujillo. "We've worked hard so far and are excited to take on Kansas and Columbus. It will be a good gauge to show us where we are as we continue preparing for the season."