CARSON, Calif. – In 2011, when Justin Braun scored, he typically scored in bunches.
The lanky forward only scored in four games during the 2011 season, but registered hat tricks twice – on May 15 vs. New York and July 23 vs. Houston. Braun ended the season with eight goals and five assists, finishing just a single assist behind midfielder Nick LaBrocca in the race for the club's Golden Boot award.
The only other player to finish the season with two or more hat-tricks was D.C. United’s Dwayne De Rosario, the league’s Golden Boot winner. De Rosario, however, was able to be a consistent scoring threat throughout the year, an area where Braun fell short.
As Braun looks to build upon his eight goal showing in 2012 and find greater consistency next season, the 24-year-old couldn't help but crack a smile when reflecting upon his year.
“It was definitely weird,” Braun admitted to MLSsoccer.com. “I wish that I could have scored a little more frequently, because you want to score on a frequent basis in order to keep your confidence up and keep yourself going, but I'll take the goals anyway that I can. That's kind of the goal of mine. And if I’m scoring in bunches, then I'm scoring in bunches.”
Mayen could be back
Gerson Mayen has spent four seasons as a member of Chivas USA, a stretch dominated by loan stints and time with the reserves. But despite his infrequent playing time, he may still have a future with the Rojiblancos.
Mayen was loaned out for a second consecutive season, joining the Ft. Lauderdale Strikers in midsummer. He was instrumental in the NASL club's run to the league's title game, making 14 appearances for the Strikers and scoring one goal. Playing primarily as an attacking two-way midfielder, the Los Angeles native showcased his ability to change a game with his skillful passing.
While the 22-year-old’s career with Chivas remains subject to year-end meetings, head coach Robin Fraser said that Mayén received great praise from his coaches in Ft. Lauderdale.
“These are all things yet to be discussed,” said Fraser of Mayén's status. “I spoke to Gerson's coach at Ft. Lauderdale last week and he was very pleased with him and thought that he was a real catalyst for the success of that team. We'll just have to discuss that as all these decisions need to be made quickly.”
Can’t find the spot
Chivas USA became just the third team in league history to fail earn a penalty kick over the course of the entire season in 2011.
They’re joined in this record by only the 2000 Kansas City Wizards – who won the Supporters’ Shield and MLS Cup double – and the 2006 edition of FC Dallas, who won the Western Conference that year and finished second in the Shield race overall.
Adam Serrano covers Chivas USA for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at email@example.com