Chivas USA lineup – Dan Kennedy, Mariano Trujillo, Jonathan Bornstein, Michael Umaa, Ante Jazic, Michael Lahoud (Jesus Padilla 64), Marcelo Saragosa, Sacha Kljestan, Jorge Flores (Justin Braun 46), Osael Romero, Maykel Galindo (Chukwudi Chijindu 75)
Fans expected to see a fluid, loose, attacking Chivas USA team under Martin Vasquez.
They got a disjointed, uptight, hesitant Chivas USA that made you wonder whether they were already missing the discipline previous coach Preki instilled or just some wiser heads.
“We were not sharp in the attacking half,” Vasquez said. “We tried to break them down, we couldn’t. If we want to win games we have to be sharper and more hungry.
“In the first half our mobility wasn’t what we wanted,” he added. “We were patient, but our speed of play needed to be faster.”
Midfield was the main problem.
Jorge Flores, who started wide on the left, never got to grips with his responsibilities and was replaced at the half by Justin Braun.
Michael Lahoud never got behind the defense to create problems, Vasquez observed, while Sacha Kljestan “lost a few balls, but it wasn’t just him.”
Tweeted Kljestan after the game: “disappointed with our game tonight, we didnt perform well enough.”
Chivas USA looked like team missing some experience which they were; the likes of Jesse Marsch, Paulo Nagamura, Claudio Suarez and Cary Talley have all retired or departed.
“We’re a young team,” said Jonathan Bornstein. “The Galaxy game will be a good indication of what we learned from this game.”
Notable: New signing Osael Romero of El Salvador, virtually invisible at times in the game drew more attention in the dressing room than on the field; his locker was surrounded by members of the media serving that community after the game.
Phil Collin filed this quote from goalkeeper Dan Kennedy on the team’s performance and his return to competitive action after a year out through injury:
“We let the fans down a bit, but we’ve got a quick turnaround until the clasico on Thursday, so there’s no time for us to dwell on this and put our heads down. We just need to pull it together, evaluate our performance and hopefully we’ll be able to adjust to the game this Thursday.
“I felt very comfortable out there, very confident. I felt my play was strong. I don’t think anyone would have said. ‘Oh, that guy’s been out a year. I felt like I just walked right back to where I was when I left off.”
I thought Colorado Coach Gary Smith summed up the difference between a Preki-coached Chivas USA and a Martin Vasquez-coached Chivas USA, having beaten the same franchise under two coaches in Carson in consecutive seasons:
“They’re a much changed team, there’s a lot of differences in that changing room. They’re trying to play a lot more football. A lot of bodies out and some new bodies in. There’s some cultural changes going on in there. It might take a little bit of time for them to find their feet. They played some very nice football at times.
“Last year this team was very resilient and determined, verging on the spiteful and nasty at times. It was a difficult place to come and difficult individuals to play against.
“This team looks a lot more creative, there’s a lot more movement, it looks like there’s a direction of possession and rotation of bodies and flexibility within the team. I thought they kept the ball ever so well at times.
Something to build on.
And that will make these fans even happier than they are here before Friday’s game in a first for Chivas USA:
Let’s be charitable and note that this was the opening 45 minutes of a long season.
This was a game that took at least 30 minutes to get rolling – and it didn’t roll far.
Maykel Galindo was Chivas USA’s bright spot, his long, rapid runs causing Colorado problems on several occasions, notably when the Cuban burned Kosuke Komura with a run that started in his own half midway through the first half.
But on the whole Chivas USA – and to be fair the game as a whole – has lacked any sort of real rhythm.
Sacha Kljestan has looked out of sorts in midfield, running randomly into packed defenses or losing the ball unnecessarily. Jorge Flores hasn’t looked much better out wide on the left either, which is where the bulk of Chivas USA’s attacks have been concentrated.
Perhaps the fact that both teams best chances may have come from long range summed up the speculative nature of both attacks.
Rapids goalkeeper Matt Pickens – who has looked shaky on several occasions – had trouble handling a long-range Marcelo Saragosa shot in the 18th minute; similarly Colin Clark sent a 30-yard blast whistling past Dan Kennedy’s far post just before halftime.
Colorado finished the half without a shot on target, Chivas USA had two.
Not surprisingly, Justin Braun has replaced the ineffective Jorge Flores as the second half begins.
*How does Vasquez (an assistant coach with Chivas in the club’s inaugural season, remember) feel about the game?:
“Very special. Ive been waiting for this moment since I got the job. I’ve been waiting for this moment from day zero when we started this franchise. (I feel) nervous, excited, anxious, all of the above. But mainly excited and proud to have this opportunity.”
*Notable: The team’s average age (25 years, 160 days) has dropped almost two and a half years from the average age of the roster at the end of the 2009 season. Goodbye, Jesse Marsch, Claudio Suarez, Sasha Victorine, Cary Talley, etc., hello Blair Gavin, Osael Romero, Ben Zemanski, etc.
New Coach Martin Vasquez hasn’t sprung any major surprises with his first starting XI in MLS compared to what we’ve seen in preseason.
The 4-4-2 formation has Dan Kennedy returning in goal after missing all of 2009 though injury, Mariano Trujillo and Ante Jazic slotting in as full backs, with Jonathan Bornstein and Michael Umana in the middle of the back four as expected.
Sacha Kljestan is captain with Jesse Marsch gone and he’s joined in midfield by Marcelo Saragosa, Michael Lahoud and Jorge Flores.
Up front is Maykel Galindo and new signing Osael Romero
Options off the bench include Blair Gavin, Jesus Padilla, Justin Braun and “Chucky” Chijindu
Here’s the Rapids lineup (4-4-2): Matt Pickens, Kosuke Kamara, Drew Moor, Danny Earls, Marvell Wynne, Jeff Larentowicz, Mahdi Ballouchy, Pablo Mastroeni, Colin Clark, Conor Casey, Omar Cummings.
On a magnificent night in Seattle, Torrance’s Sigi Schmid coached his Sounders past the expansion Philadelphia Union 2-0 Thursday before a record MLS crowd of 36,241 at Qwest Field in the league season opener.
It was a spectacle on and off the pitch, with frenzied fans undaunted by the steady rain (the first time it had rained on a MLS soccer game in Seattle I was told) and chanting their city’s name with a Kop-like passion.
“It hasn’t lost its luster,” Schmid told the Seattle Times. “This is still almost a dream sometimes, every time I step on the field.”
The opening goal was a thing of beauty, the entire Sounders forward line getting involved and giving MLS a touch of class between Freddy Montero, Freddie Lungberg, Steve Zakuani and, ultimately, Brad Evans.
Well, the organizers would like to wheel the Galaxy midfielder (or have him hobble) out, apparently to goose ticket sales:
JOHANNESBURG (AP) — World Cup organizers will talk to David Beckham about having a role at the tournament’s opening ceremony.
Organizing committee chief executive Danny Jordaan told The Associated Press on Thursday there have already been indications that Beckham will travel to South Africa with England’s squad, even though he has been ruled out of playing because of a torn Achilles’ tendon.
Beckham is expected to be involved in promoting England’s bid to host the 2018 World Cup.
Jordaan said the organizing committee would approach the former England captain about taking part in the opening ceremony at the Soccer City Stadium in Soweto on June 11.
“I think that already there is an indication that he will come with the England team and he
will work for the 2018 bid,” Jordaan told the AP at a FIFA event in the Johannesburg township of Alexandra. “So we will meet him when he comes here.”
The England team is expected to arrive in South Africa on June 3.
The 34-year-old midfielder ruptured his Achilles’ tendon playing for Italian club AC Milan
this month. He underwent surgery in Finland and is expected to be sidelined about six
England coach Fabio Capello has invited Beckham to join the squad at the monthlong tournament.
Beckham had been hoping to become the first Englishman to play in four World Cups.
Beckham’s presence at the opening ceremony could be a massive boost for local organizers, who have experienced disappointing ticket sales for soccer’s biggest event.
The local organizing committee expressed its disappointment after Beckham was injured on March 14, saying Beckham was a “household name” who would “enhance spectator presence in South Africa.”
The MLS season starts at 6:30 tonight on ESPN2 when the Seattle Sounders host the expansion Philadelphia Union at an expanded (for soccer), sold out Qwest Field in front of what is certain to be a near delirious crowd.
Chivas USA kicks off at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Home Depot Center against the Colorado Rapids (tickets start at $15) and reporter Phil Collin checks in with this preview.
Phil will have a Galaxy preview Friday ahead of their home opener Saturday at Home Depot Center.