Although Chivas USA haven't had a good run to start the season, they opened the MLS reserve league Monday with a 4-2 victory over the LA Galaxy. A hat trick from Cesar Romero (59, 64, and 86th minutes) and a goal (54th minute) and assist from Miller Bolaños powered the Goats against their rivals, who got a brace from Chad Barrett. Considering the game was scoreless and chippy through the first half, it is somewhat surprising that six goals were scored in the second half, until you recall these are the backups to the first team, who have had defensive woes for both clubs as well so far this season.
The hope is that Romero and Bolaños will be able to replicate their form in the reserve matches for the first team. Considering the offensive woes for the team, who have only scored one goal in four matches this season, more attacking players need to step up. Both players have gotten action as second half substitutes, but their impact has been limited. In part, it's because of the conditions of the games they entered, and the fact that Chivas have played with a defensive priority so far, but hopefully one or both of them can get some regular minutes and actually make an impact with the first team. I think the league is littered with players who impressed for the reserves but couldn't get the job done when the games mattered (remember Chris Cortez?).Here was the starting lineup for Chivas: Tim Melia, Scott Gordon, John Valencia, David Junior Lopes, Gerardo Daniel Torres, Ben Zemanski, Peter Vagenas, Blair Gavin, Jorge Villafaña, Bolaños, Romero.
The subs were Marky Delgado at halftime, Matt Dallman in the 65th minute, and Carlos Torres in the 72nd minute.
Delgado signed as a homegrown player (an article on that will be up soon), while the Torreses and Dallman are trialists. Carlos Torres used to play for the Academy, while Gerardo Torres is one of the trialists from Chivas' partnership with CESIFUT. And Dallman has been on trial since about midway through the preseason, but battled injury recently. As ever, we'll have to wait and see if these guys stick around and ultimately get to sign a contract.
Although the reserves are a way for players to stay in shape and get evaluated by the coaches, the reserve league matches are ultimately not particularly meaningful. That said, if the reserves can win and make the first team players fight for their spots, it certainly could elevate the competition on the squad. Here's hoping this win is a good omen for the reserves the rest of the way, for the first team this week, and against the Galaxy coming up.
(Thanks to Scott French on ESPN for his write-up of the match, which can be found here.)
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