Los Angeles Soccer: AIK
Chivas USA continues to find itself this preseason, a process that likely will extend into the Major League Soccer regular season, which is less than two weeks away. Monday night's 2-0 loss to Swedish club AIK in Portland, Ore., was another step along the path.
There was good and bad, head coach Robin Fraser acknowledged, but star forward Juan Pablo Angel expressed disappointment after the Goats were shut out for the fourth time in nine preseason matches.
“We’re disappointed with the result,” Angel, who hasn't scored from the run of play in six preseason starts, told the league's website. “There were times where we thought we played well, and there were times when we weren’t as good as we should have been. We need to try to get the next 10, 12 days in order to get ready for league, which is coming very rapidly.”
Miscues, the first when the backline failed to react quickly enough and the second farther up the field, led to both AIK goals, but Chivas' attack began clicking in the second half, and newcomer Cesar Romero twice came close to scoring.
“It was a learning experience for us again,” Fraser told ESPN Los Angeles. “We're still figuring out personalities and combinations of players. And the end of the day, it's a relatively new group, so all the games are important as we go forward. ...
“I just think as we go forward, we have to really embrace the philosophy that we have to work every minute of every game. That's how this league works. Teams that work are teams that ultimately are successful. As a group, we continue to learn that nobody can take any plays off. We're at our best when everyone works extremely hard.”
Fraser played a first-choice lineup -- the only real question, it seems, is whether Nick LaBrocca or Alejandro Moreno will accompany Oswaldo Minda at the bottom of the midfield triangle -- in the opener of the Portland Timbers' four-team tournament at Jeld-Wen Field. Moreno got the call this time, then exited after an hour after an inadvertent elbow to the face, which might have broken his nose.
Chivas USA will join the Portland Timbers, San Jose Earthquakes and a Swedish club for a preseason tournament beginning in late February.
The Goats will open against AIK, from Stockholm's suburbs, on Feb. 27 at Jeld-Wen Field in Portland, Ore., then face the Timbers on March 1 and the Quakes on March 4.
Chivas is slated to open its camp Jan. 15. It faces Houston in its Major League Soccer opener March 11 at Home Depot Center.