Sunday, May 25, 2008

Thoughts on Chivas USA

When I did my weekly radio spot for Around the League in 90 minutes on the Champions Soccer Radio Network last week, I didn't have too much faith in Chivas USA's ability to pull out a result in Colorado. It's not that the Rapids have been world beaters, but Chivas hadn't done well to piece together consistent matches, let alone a solid 90-minute road effort. I don't remember if I made an outright prediction but I was all but tagging the Rapids for a win.

Chivas proved me wrong. The club had its first good road effort and came away with a strong momentum-building win. While the 3-1 win over DC helped Chivas realize that they could in fact play like they did a year ago, Saturday's win should serve as a confidence boost. Two games now Chivas has came away with maximum points.

What is more startling is the lineups the club has used to get their six points. Players like Bobby Burling, Justin Braun, Atiba Harris and Sueno himself Jorge Flores have played key roles in each victory. Anyone but ardent Chivas supporters would be hard-pressed to pick Burling out of a lineup while Braun came from out of nowhere to even land a roster spot, yet those guys are finally responding and getting their opportunities as regulars Maykel Galindo and Shavar Thomas deal with injury.

Flores, though, has been a pleasant surprise. The kid obviously has talent. It was evident, not because he won Sueno MLS or even because he got a contract but because of his repeated call-ups to the Under-20 national team and the things that coaches say about him, about his strong work ethic, attitude and mentality. Flores is just 18, not even one calendar year removed from high school, and now he's got two goals under his belt. At this point, it will be difficult to not include him in the starting lineup for next week's match against Columbus.

As more players recover from injury, such as Carey Talley did against the Rapids, Chivas will only get stronger. And with consecutive wins now under their belt, the club is only going to grow in confidence.


Anonymous said...

I'm surprised you haven't mentioned newly relegated Veracruz getting bought by American, Jay Silverstein, the other day. Is this the first time an American has owned a soccer team in Mexico? I read he bought the club for only $8 million.

Anonymous said...

OMG, Luis gives Chivas USA props! Maybe there are WMD's in Iraq!

Actually, Luis you almost never give Chivas USA a chance. It's the LA Galaxy whom you give all the credit in the world. Jaime come back!

Then again, it's hard to tell with your monotone delivery on the podcast. Can you say mortician/soccer journo?