Coming off the 3-1 victory of the Seattle Sounders over Chivas USA Saturday night, the reserve teams met up at the Home Depot Center complex early Sunday and played to a 3-3 draw in the reserve league finale. It was a wild match, with Seattle going up 2-0 by the fourth minute with goals from Pat Noonan and Lamar Neagle, both of whom will be looking to see some action with Seattle's first team in the MLS Cup playoffs. It looked like deja vu from the night before, in a way, as Seattle then took a commanding 3-0 lead within the first 15 minutes, as Noonan grabbed a second.
It's unclear if Seattle just took their collective feet off the gas after that, or if Chivas finally realized they were playing an actual game, but the Goats came to life shortly thereafter. Coming on the heels of his substitute appearance in the first team game and scoring his first career MLS goal, Victor Estupinan continued his scoring streak in the reserve league with a goal in the 31st minute, with an assist from Chivas trialist Nicolas Dieuze. It was Estupinan's 5th reserve league goal, so combined with his goal from the first team...he only came up 24 goals short of his goal. I suppose you should shoot for the moon and all, right?
Continued after the jumpChivas got their second goal in the 42nd minute when Academy player Ben Spencer scored, with some help from U18 teammate Marki Delgado. Then there was a long lull in the scoring for the match, before Chivas Assistant Coach Greg Vanney, suiting up in central defense for the second straight reserves match, hit a free kick in the 88th minute to finish the comeback for the Goats. Good for Vanney, but can he show some of the current guys how to score from a set piece? That was a problem for the first team this season.
According to the club, the draw means that Chivas finished the reserve league season with a 3-3-4 record, but they ended the campaign on a high note, with two wins and this draw. Although the Portland Timbers organization and fans thought there was a reserve league playoffs, that is untrue and the season is over. I think it proved useful for many MLS clubs however, so I hope the league continues the format next season.
For Seattle, there were many players who have seen first team action this season, but that's not such a surprise as they have a deep squad and have at times played in three concurrent leagues and/or tournaments. For Chivas, we saw a hybrid lineup like we've seen the past month. There were the guys in the first team rotation: Jorge Flores, Andrew Boyens, Mariano Trujillo, and Michael Lahoud. Several players who saw the most time with the reserves were also involved, including Estupinan, third-string goalkeeper Sergio Arias, and Chris Cortez. Academy players Spencer, Delgado, Eric Gonzalez, and Pablo Sandoval featured. Besides Dieuze another player without an official affiliation with the team, defender Nelson Akwari, played. Akwari's current club is listed as the Los Angeles Blues of USL, so it's unclear if he is on trial or if he was invited simply to fill out the defense, as Chivas have been decimated by injuries to defenders recently. I guess we'll keep you posted if any other news comes up about Akwari.
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