Saturday, March 12, 2011
Chivas ends preseason, hasn't met goals
By Scott French
The defeats this preseason aren't so worrisome -- Chivas USA is building almost from scratch, and there have been good things in every game, and when (or if) everything clicks, the Goats could surprise a lot of people this season.
Forgive us if we're wondering who's going to score goals.
The Goats have shown no ability to put the ball in the net this preseason, and Saturday night's 2-0 loss to FC Dallas in a charity match in Frisco, Texas, was the fifth time in nine preseason encounters that they have been shut out.
That's five zeros in the last seven games, three in the last four, and, wait, it gets worse. Chivas scored just five goals in the nine games. Three of them were tallied by Alan Gordon, who was traded Friday to Toronto FC. Another was product of Jesus Padilla, who was dismissed this week from the team.
That leaves one measly goal, by rookie Ecuadoran forward Victor Estupiņan, who predicted as preseason opened that he'd score 30 this season. The Goats sure could use them.
Head coach Robin Fraser has been adamant that he's fine with the attack as long as it is creating chances, and the Goats have created some fine chances -- not always consistently so, perhaps -- that they haven't put away. At some point, they need to put them away.
A plus is the return of forward Justin Braun, who led Chivas with nine goals last season but has missed most of camp with an ankle injury. He played the full 90, partnered up front with Alejandro Moreno for most of it, against Dallas.
THE GAME: Daniel Hernandez (24th minute) and Ruben Luna (53rd) scored the goals for the Hoops, who used Thousand Oaks High School grad Chris Seitz in the nets.
Fraser treated this one as the real thing, making only three substitutions and giving the backline a full game together. Or at least that was the plan. Jimmy Conrad was ejected in the 62nd minute after yellow cards a minute apart, for a dust-up with Luna and a hard foul seconds later.
Zarek Valentin, who has played primarily at right back (and, by all accounts, will play primarily at right back), was in the middle with Conrad. Seth Owusu, who is expected to eventually start in central defense, returning starter Michael Umaņa and reserve center back Andrew Boyens were left on the bench.
Nick LaBrocca, acquired in the Gordon trade, stepped right into the mix for the Goats, playing 90 minutes in midfield.
PRESEASON WRAP: Chivas went 3-5-1 in preseason matches, 2-3-1 against MLS opposition. Three players saw action in all nine games: Conrad, Valentin and winger Francisco Mendoza. Each started eight games.
UP NEXT: Chivas opens the MLS season next Saturday night at Home Depot Center against Sporting Club Kansas City.
LINEUPS:Chris Seitz; Jair Benitez (Zach Loyd, 46), Brek Shea, George John (Scott Gordon, 86), Jackson Goncalves (Moises Hernandez, 81); Marvin Chavez (Bruno Guarda, 85), Eric Alexander (Andrew Weideman, 76), Daniel Hernandez (Bobby Warshaw, 83), Eric Avila (Ricardo Villar, 46); David Ferrreira (Andrew Jacobson, 76); Milton Rodriguez (Ruben Luna, 46).
Chivas USA: Zach Thornton; Heath Pearce, Zarek Valentin, Jimmy Conrad, Ante Jazic; Ben Zemanski, Nick LaBrocca, Francisco Mendoza (Mariano Trujillo, 76), Marcos Mondaini (Jorge Flores, 84); Justin Braun, Alejandro Moreno (Tristan Bowen, 76).
CHIVAS USA 2011 PRESEASON (3-5-1)
Feb. 1 vs. Fresno Fuego (PDL) at Templeton, Calif.: W 2-0 (goals by Gordon, Estupiņan)
Feb. 7 vs. San Jose Earthquakes at HDC: W 1-0 (Gordon)
Feb. 12 vs. Seattle Sounders at Casa Grande, Ariz.: L 0-1
Feb. 15 vs. Real Salt Lake at Casa Grande, Ariz.: L 0-2
Feb. 18 vs. Vancouver Whitecaps at Casa Grande, Ariz.: W 1-0 (Padilla)
Feb. 25 vs. D.C. United at HDC: T 0-0
March 1 vs. Canada U-23 at HDC: L 0-2
March 5 vs. UCLA at HDC: L 1-2 (Gordon)
March 12 vs. FC Dallas at Frisco, Texas: L 0-2