While Chivas USA's first team has another week off before their next competitive match, Chivas' reserves got a run out today as they defeated the San Jose Earthquakes 3-1 in MLS Reserve League play. The win gives Chivas a 2-1-1 record in the reserve league this season.
Chivas got two goals from Paolo Cardozo in the match, and he earned the penalty for the third. He opened the scoring in the seventh minute, after Cesar Romero passed the ball his way. Miller Bolanos got a goal of his own when he converted a penalty in the 64th minute, earned by, wouldn't you know it, Cardozo. Cardozo got his second goal in the 66th minute when Jorge Villafana's cross was deflected in the midfielder's path, and he chipped it over San Jose goalkeeper Evan Newton. According to Scott French's report on the match on ESPN LA, Chivas Assistant Coach Greg Vanney explained that the coaches asked Cardozo to step up his efficiency if he wanted to see action with the first team. That seems like a reasonable request, as Cardozo has seemed to be a lot of style but no substance so far with Chivas. Perhaps lighting a fire under the midfielder will inspire him to break his duck and finally score in MLS play.
On San Jose's side, Shea Salinas scored in the 82nd minute. It was his first game action since his collarbone was broken in four places after a physical confrontation with Rafa Marquez.Here was Chivas starting lineup: Tim Melia; Scott Morrison, John Valencia, Bobby Burling, Marky Delgado, Ben Zemanski, Jorge Villafana, Miller Bolanos, Paolo Cardozo, Cesar Romero, Casey Townsend
You'll notice two players not on the roster in that lineup. Former Chivas USA player Burling is currently on trial. He spent the past couple seasons with San Jose, but was selected by the Montreal Impact in the Expansion Draft. However, as Burling explained to Adam Serrano on the league website, Montreal apparently has no interest in signing him although they own his MLS rights. It sounds like this is a Brian Ching-lite situation, where Burling is meant to be a trade chip for the Impact.
The other unfamilar name is Morrison, who is also on trial. He's a Scottish defender, and has spent his career in Scotland, playing for Aberdeen, Dunfirmline Athletic, and most recently Ross County. That last club is in the Scottish second division, which isn't necessarily a great endorsement for Morrison based on the overall level of play. That said, there have been Scottish players throughout MLS history who have been successful. But it is unclear if he will sign with Chivas, as Serrano and French both report his trial is about to end.
The substitutes for Chivas were Patrick McLain for Melia and Scott Gordon for Zemanski, both at the half. Two youth Academy players also participated, as Eric Gonzalez came on for Morrison in the 78th minute and Ben Spencer replaced Townsend in the 81st minute. Finally, another trialist, Tiago Luzardi, a Brazilian midfielder who French reports has recently played indoor soccer in Southern California, replaced Cardozo in the 79th minute.
Forecasting the team's personnel needs, I think Robin Fraser will be looking to add a quality defender, but I am not sure about bringing on midfielders unless a player is truly exceptional, considering the versatility and logjam among the current midfielders on the roster. As ever, we know this coaching staff and front office move deliberately, so I wouldn't necessarily expect a signing anytime soon. To Fraser's credit, it seems the players who have been added in 2012 have been good, and even a new defender would be for depth at most, I would assume.
Chivas' next reserve league match will be June 18 against the Portland Timbers somewhere in the Home Depot Center complex.
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