MLS Preseason: Chivas USA 5 Los Angeles Blues 1
Closing out its preseason schedule ahead of the regular-season opener, Chivas USA defeated the L.A. Blues, 5-1, Saturday morning at The Home Depot Center’s Field 4.
After conceding the match’s first goal in the first half by George Davis, the Rojiblancos scored five unanswered goals to extend their preseason unbeaten streak to eight. 2011 Under-17 World Cup champion Giovani Casillas knocked in his first two goals of camp for the Rebaño Angelino, followed by Jose Manuel Rivera, Eric Avila and Tristan Bowen who each pitched in with a goal apiece.
With the win Chivas USA wraps up its six-week camp under new Head Coach Jose Luis Sanchez Sola “El Chelis” at 6-0-2, ahead of next Saturday’s MLS season opener against Eastern Conference opponent the Columbus Crew. The Red-and-White outscored their preseason opponents 27-8, led by forward Miller Bolaños’ team-high six goals and Jose Correa’s five.
The Rojiblancos had solid looks at goal in the first half on strikes by Bolaños and Avila, and on two set pieces. In the sixth minute, Bolaños took a free kick from the right seam which he laid off to a cutting Daniel Antunez, but the defender’s strike was wide left of the post. In the 34th minute, defender Mario de Luna attempted a shot of his own on a similar play but could not find the back of the net.
The Blues got on the board first in the 34th minute when Davis combined with Sergio Ortiz inside the box. Ortiz gathered the ball by the arc and slotted the assist to the cutting Davis to go ahead 1-0.
Sanchez Sola brought on six substitutes to start the second half and it paid off immediately, as the Rebaño Angelino scored four goals in a span of nine minutes.
In the 47th minute Avila served a long cross from the right sideline near the arc, where Correa let the pass go through to Casillas inside the box who gathered the entry pass and beat goalkeeper Carl Woszczynski to his left to even the score at one.
Four minutes later Casillas knocked in his second goal of the match when the Blues defense failed to clear the ball out of the area. The ball deflected off a Blues defender and found Casillas inside the box unmarked to take a 2-1 lead which the Rojiblancos would not relinquish.
In the 53rd minute Bowen, with his back to the net inside the box, laid off a pass to Rivera who lined up and fired the low strike for his third preseason goal to push the advantage to 3-1.
In the 56th minute Avila put the marker at 4-1 when he recovered a deflected shot near the short area and powered in his second goal of camp.
The Red-and-White put the exclamation point on the five-goal run in the 86th minute when Rivera placed a pass over the top into the left side of the box to Bowen, who worked the ball in a one-on-one match-up with a Blues defender. Bowen created space and got off a shot between the keeper’s legs for his fourth goal of camp and Rivera’s second preseason assist for the 5-1 result.
Goalkeeper Tim Melia, who started the second half was solid in goal, deflecting two shots that were on frame off two separate set pieces. In the 73rd minute, Melia came off his line to break up a one-on-one attack by Davis, preserving the second half shutout.