Eric Avila might have felt a bit strange in his return to MLS action Thursday night, but it certainly didn’t appear that way as the Chivas USA midfielder helped his squad to a scoreless draw at FC Dallas.
Avila, in his first match since returning from a two-week trial period in Mexico, had three shots and displayed the offensive creativity that made him a serious candidate for a roster spot with affiliate club Guadalajara.
“It was a little bit different, but I’m excited to be back,” Avila told reporters. “It felt weird, but I felt comfortable with all the guys. I fit right in.”
Avila didn’t seem to skip a beat, displaying the skill set that has made him one of Chivas USA’s most pivotal playmakers in his first year with the club. He created space in the 61st minute with a nifty move to his right and fired a shot from just outside the box, but goalkeeper Dallas goalkeeper Raul Fernandez didn’t have to move to make the catch. Moments earlier, Avila worked his way past three defenders and centered a pass that gave the Dallas defense serious trouble.
The last-place Goats held a 7-1 advantage in on-target shots for the match and took their fourth point against FC Dallas in two meetings this season.
Chivas USA head coach José Luis “Guero” Real was one of the consultants that helped assemble former coach José Luis “El Chelís” Sánchez Solá’s roster in the preseason, with Avila being one of the major acquisitions in a trade that sent Nick LaBrocca to the Colorado Rapids.
“Avila is a very important player for whichever team he plays for,” Real said. “We had him in very good form as he normally is, but at the end of the match he was drained. He’s a great player who helped us and will continue to help us. [Thursday night] he had enough for 70 minutes, but he’s coming off a trip and recess, so he got tired.”
Avila also suggested he might have been more exhausted than usual late in Thursday night’s match.
“They worked me really hard down there,” Avila said. “I’m still tired and jetlagged, but it was good to run around.”