Chivas USA opened play in the preseason Desert Diamond Cup tournament in Tucson Wednesday with a 1-1 draw against host club FC Tucson. After going down shortly after the restart, the Goats equalizer a few minutes later behind a terrific goal from Carlos Alvarez.
Here was Chivas' starting lineup for the match:
Tim Melia; Andrew Ribeiro, Fejiro Okiomah, Andrew Jean-Baptiste, Michael Nwiloh; "Trialist #1", Carlos Borja, Kris Tyrpak, Bryan de la Fuente; Caleb Calvert, Carlo Chueca
As you can tell from this lineup, it appears Chivas coach Wilmer Cabrera went with a second string for this game, at least based on initial projections. Given that it's preseason and that the first string got action Sunday in Las Vegas against the Colorado Rapids, it seems like the coach is giving pretty much everybody a run-out.
As for the identity of "Trialist #1," it is indeed Spanish midfielder Dani Fragoso, who I spotted during the win over the Rapids the other night. Though if Chivas already have Oswaldo Minda and now Agustin Pelletieri, I'm not sure why they'd want another holding midfielder, but if the price was right I guess depth is never a bad thing.
A substitute goalkeeper entered the game, but I'm not sure exactly when. The team reported Melia was replaced by "Trialist #2" (Larry Jackson?) at halftime, but Tucson-based reporter Ted Prezelski, who was at the game, reported that Melia gave up Tucson's goal in the 54th minute. At any rate, a second 'keeper entered at some point in the second half.
Alvarez replaced Fragoso at halftime, while "Trialist #3" entered in the 68th minute for Calvert. Could that person be Leandro Barrera?
At any rate, here's how the scoring went: after a scoreless first half, Tucson drew first blood in the 54th minute off a volley from Martino Rapella, who Prezelski reports was recruited by Tucson from a local league. Then, five minutes later, Alvarez tied the game with a perfectly lofted ball over the Tucson 'keeper from outside the box. Here's video of Alvarez's tally:
Pretty impressive, eh?
The result means Chivas remain unbeaten this preseason. However, they were unbeaten in the 2013 preseason and look how that turned out for their regular season prospects. The tie also maintains FC Tucson's unbeaten streak against Chivas, following the host's 1-0 win over the Goats in a friendly last year.
When it comes to the Desert Diamond Cup, Chivas sit level on points with four of the six teams in the tournament after the first matchday. The teams all play two more games before the match-ups for the final day are determined. Chivas' next game is Saturday against the New England Revolution at 5 pm PT. If you can't make it to Arizona for the game, the good news is that it will be streamed on MLSsoccer.com. We'll have a gamethread for it, so be sure to watch out for that!
What do you think? Leave a comment below!