CARSON, Calif. – Talent and ability helped Miller Bolaños land at Chivas USA this offseason. But the abilities he’s polished and developed since arriving in MLS have made him a bright spot during what's been a rough season for the Rojiblancos.
Heading down the stretch, the Ecuadorian midfielder has become a vital cog for Chivas.
“Miller has been probably our most dangerous player consistently over the past five or six games,” Chivas USA assistant coach Greg Vanney said. “He keeps coming in, he keeps finding ways to get shots off. I think he’s looked very active in the attack, has looked very much like he wants to take some responsibility for this team to be dangerous in the attacking third.”
GOAL: Bolaños draws Chivas USA level
Bolaños’ pace has been difficult for defenders to contain, while his shifty moves enable him to get behind defenses and create opportunities for Chivas USA.
While victories have been hard to come by, the attack has shown signs of life the past six games, with Bolaños contributing two goals and one assist to the cause. He'll look to continue his good form as the Goats head to Columbus on Wednesday evening (7:30 pm ET, watch LIVE online).
“I came in with the goal of winning a spot on the team,” Bolaños told MLSsoccer.com. “Up to now, I’ve been doing the right things, have been working hard every day to be there and that’s what’s important, to show your worth every game.”
There was, however, one problem at the beginning of his journey.
“He’s had a wonderful evolution since he arrived here at the beginning of the year,” Vanney said. “When he showed up, he was incredibly unfit. He was learning what the work rate was necessary to be here, offensively and defensively, and he was rounding that in. He has really embraced all of that.”
After playing for Ecudaorian sides Barcelona and LDU Quito, Bolaños joined Chivas with quite a bit of experience for a younger player. Still, there was a period of transition that he had to overcome.
“Little by little, I got used to the style of play," he said. "Here you run more and you have to be 100 percent fit, and that’s what cost me at the beginning. But I put the work in and now I feel fine.”
And even though the Goats’ playoff hopes are on life support heading into the final stretch of September, Bolaños has been something positive for the club to point to, nothing to scoff at during a disappointing campaign.
“He’s been excellent in games and in training and in everything,” Vanney said. “He’s got a great personality and I think it shows on the field. He’s a fighter, he wants to win. He’s trying to spur the team on in his way. We’re all very happy with what Miller has been able to do in a very tough season.”
Luis Bueno covers Chivas USA for MLSsoccer.com and can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.