Returning to Oxnard College today, Chivas USA took on the Chicago Fire in their fourth preseason game of the year, falling 1-0 on a second half goal from Daniel Paladini. That brings Chivas' preseason record so far to 1-3, but on the bright side their losses have all been by one goal and their goal difference is +2 (5 goals for, 3 against) to this point.
While wins are always a good thing, the club has really used preseason games for two purposes: slowly bringing players under contract to match fitness and sharpness, and evaluating players not under contract to see who should be signed. In today's match, the first team looked like they played for about an hour, so Robin Fraser has built up their time on the field, from the customary 45 minutes he's played them in the first three matches. I'm maintaining the same attitude: if Chivas can win in the regular season, I don't care how many preseason games they lose. By the way, the season opener is exactly one month away! Are you counting down the days?Chivas' starting eleven was: Dan Kennedy; James Riley, John Valencia, Heath Pearce, Ante Jazic; Oswaldo Minda, Alejandro Moreno, Nick LaBrocca, Michael Lahoud, Laurent Courtois; Cesar Romero
According to Adam Serrano on twitter, Romero got the start because Juan Pablo Angel is away from the club on an appearance in his home country of Colombia.
At the start of the second half, Tim Melia replaced Kennedy, Jorge Villafana came on for Jazic, Peter Vagenas was substituted for LaBrocca, and Ryan Smith replaced Courtois.
From what I could follow on the audiostream, the following Goats came on during the second half: Blair Gavin, David Junior Lopes, Marky Delgado, Rauwshan McKenzie, Chris Cortez, Casey Townsend.
All in all, aside from a few players and positions, it looks like the roster is starting to shape up nicely. Townsend, dealing with injuries so far this preseason, got his first game action for Chivas with a few minutes today.
I have to thank the Chicago Fire's website and in particular Brendan Hannan and Jeff Crandall for setting up an audiostream and Hannan doing a good play by play call without video. The call was obviously Fire-centric but Hannan knew his stuff about Chivas and kept up with the changes, ahem, better than Chivas' official twitter feed.
Based on the call, it seems once he entered, Villafana was the main person in the mix for Chivas and Paladini his Fire counterpart. I'm guessing the reality was a bit different, but if Villafana's flying high with his USMNT U23 training, all power to him.
Finally, cheers to the Union Ultras, as well as other Chivas' fans, who made the trip up to Oxnard for the match. I could hear their chants on the audiostream, adding to the atmosphere of the call. It is just a preseason match, but the fans are doing their part - now it's up to the team to get the results this season.
Coming up in preseason action, Chivas take on the LA Galaxy at the Home Depot Center Thursday morning. Unfortunately, because of Bruce Arena's paranoia, the public is not welcome at the match. Figures, right?
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