Just before Chivas USA’s opening game against Colorado last Friday, Jorge Flores had reason to celebrate. Not only was his name on the teamsheet; he was in the starting XI.
Flores is something of a fan favorite at Chivas USA. After winning the first-ever Sueño MLS reality-show tryout in the winter of 2007, the Anaheim, Calif., native was signed to the team’s official roster that summer.
Now at the start of his fourth season in the league, the man most still call “Sueño” has begun the transition from wunderkind to impact player. His place in Chivas USA’s starting XI could be a regularity in 2010, and he will be asked to make a greater contribution on the field this year than ever before.
“It’s a big, important change for me,” Flores told MLSsoccer.com. “It’s something I’ve always wanted. Now I just have to keep working hard to keep my position in that starting 11.”
Flores played the first half of the season-opener against Colorado. And while he didn’t have as much success going forward as he would have liked, he displayed the tireless defensive hustle that makes him a terrible nuisance to opposing attackers.
“I thought my first game went pretty well,” Flores said after practice on Monday. “There are improvements that I can make, but I had the right mentality. I work very hard on behalf of the team. In every situation, I’m ready and willing to do whatever it takes to help the team win.”
One promising aspect of Flores’ game against Colorado was his partnership with left back Ante Jazic. The two created a few good chances with overlapping runs and looked very comfortable playing together.
“Ante is a great player,” said Flores. “We played well together in preseason, and we have a good understanding between us. I think we make a good pair.”
Flores, Jazic, and the rest of Chivas USA will get another shot at their first points of the 2010 season on Thursday evening when they take on their in-stadium rival Los Angeles Galaxy in the first leg of this year’s Super Clásico.
This is the first clash between the two Los Angeles squads since the Galaxy booted Chivas from the postseason last fall.
“It was sad not to get win [against Colorado],” Flores said. “But this Thursday we can get back to work and find a victory.”