Los Angeles Soccer: R.J. Allen

CHIVAS USA: Awful start, decent finish

February, 16, 2012
CARSON -- Chivas USA coach Robin Fraser was not pleased with his side's effort in the first half Tuesday morning against the Galaxy. The Goats, fielding close to a first-choice lineup against a group of second- and third-teamers, played listless, mistake-filled soccer and struggled to figure out their archrival's direct approach.

It led to a three-goal deficit by halftime, and only a second-half rally, after Fraser made wholesale changes, salvaged some positives in a 3-2 closed-door loss on L.A.'s training field at Home Depot Center.

“First half really poor. Really poor,” Fraser reported afterward. “We had too many turnovers and not enough ideas to deal with the way that they were playing. I was disappointing to come out and start that way. I think the second half, we came out with as little more resolve against how we wanted to play against them, and as a result we were able to turn the game a bit in our favor and create some good opportunities.

“This is part of the learning process. You're going to see different sorts of teams. And I think the way the Galaxy play, this is the first time we've seen a team that plays [so directly], and we just have to learn from it.”

Miscues from trusted hands, including backline leader Heath Pearce and goalkeeper Dan Kennedy, contributed to the first-half fallout, with the Galaxy scoring on easy finishes from Pat Noonan (after a takeaway), Adam Cristman (after a backpass disaster) and Dan Keat (after rookie Rafael Garcia sliced through the defense).

“Errors in the back are never good,” Fraser said. “We had guys make mistakes today who are good players and know the consequences of making mistakes like that in big games. So certainly we feel again like this is something we have to learn from. We have to recognize opportunities [to score], we have to be cleaner. You can't turn the ball over 35 yards from your goal. You just can't.

“I feel like we're taking steps forward, but it's always disappointing whenever you shoot yourself in the foot.”

Michael Lahoud, who arguably has been Chivas' best player through six preseason matches, said the first half “wasn't good enough.”

“We want to be a team of ambition,” he said. “We want to be a team that competes, especially when we play against these guys -- they're neighbors, they're our rivals, and it's never an easy game. But that doesn't excuse the way we came out. We came out flat and passes weren't connected.”

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CHIVAS USA: Bolaņos debuts in win

February, 15, 2012

CARSON -- Miller Bolaņos made his Chivas USA debut, Ben Zemanski returned from concussion and top draft pick Casey Townsend celebrated his first start in red and white with a goal.

All in all, a good afternoon for the Goats. Oh, and they won.

Townsend's strike right at the start, from a Ryan Smith feed, lifted Chivas USA to a 1-0 triumph over the Montreal Impact in a 60-minute session Tuesday on one of the fields east of Home Depot Center's main stadium, the club's first win over Major League Soccer competition this preseason.

The result didn't matter nearly as much as did the opportunity to survey several players looking to make the roster, and head coach Robin Fraser gave several -- including rookie defenders R.J. Allen and Fabian Kling and trialists Cesar Romero and Mario Ledesma -- the full hour to show what they can do.

Romero is a good bet to win a job. One of the goalkeepers in action -- UCLA product Brian Rowe, a supplemental draft pick, in the first half and Cal Poly's Patrick McLain -- likely will claim the No. 3 slot, behind Dan Kennedy and Tim Melia.

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CHIVAS USA: Goats go local, go defense

January, 17, 2012
Chivas USA focused on defense in Thursday's MLS Supplemental Draft, grabbing an outside back with its first pick, then adding central defenders -- one a local kid, the other from Germany -- in the second round.

Brian Rowe
Courtesy of Major League SoccerUCLA goalkeeper Brian Rowe clears his goalmouth under pressure at MLS's pre-draft combine.

The Goats, all five of their selections in the first two rounds, also took UCLA goalkeeper Brian Rowe, who was in the MLS combine, and Cal State Fullerton midfielder Kevin Venegas (Lakewood/Los Alamitos HS), who attended a Chivas combine last weekend.

Chivas used its first pick, fifth overall, on Monmouth right back R.J. Allen, a two-time All-American who attended the league's pre-draft combine and was on Chivas' list of possibles for last week's SuperDraft.

San Diego State's Daniel Steres (Calabasas/Calabasas HS) was expected to be drafted, and the other center back, 6-foot-3 Fabian Kling from NCAA Division II champion Fort Lewis, is among the most intriguing picks of the draft season.

“[Kling is] a guy, we got an email, a recommendation from someone,” Chivas general manager Jose Domene said. “He's a big dude. A big fella. An international player, from Germany.”

He's from Augsburg and is a two-time D2 All-American and the division's player of the year last season, but more compelling are his numbers: 28 goals, half of them game-winners, in four seasons. That suggests he's a force on set pieces, a quality Chivas could use at both ends.

Allen, Domene said, was “on our board last week, but we didn't have a second-round pick -- not that we would have [necessarily] picked him. He's a guy we valued high, and we're lucky he fell to us.”

Rowe, a second-team All-American from Eugene, Ore., shut out 12 foes as the Bruins marched to the NCAA Final Four. He's one of five goalkeepers in camp battling for two jobs backing up Dan Kennedy.

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