May 10, 2013 - Major League Soccer (MLS) - Club Deportivo Chivas USA
At 25 years of age, Chivas USA midfielder Eric ÃÂvila is in his sixth Major League Soccer season and earlier this year he appeared in his 100th League match. Avila arrived to the Red-and-White this off-season after spending 2012 and part of 2011 in Toronto FC. Since joining the RebaÃÂ±o Angelino, he is among the squad's most experienced League players going into Sunday's Western Conference battle against the Portland Timbers at JELD-WEN Field.
The beginning of the 2013 campaign marked the arrival of many new faces to the Rojiblancos. ÃÂvila, one of the ten Southern California products on the team, says he tries to share the knowledge and experience he has acquired within the years with his teammates, especially with the 11 players on the club who have made their MLS debut this season playing for Chivas USA.
"At first there was so many new faces," said Avila. "By playing a lot and having the experience, I'm getting more confident and trying to help my teammates as much as possible. I try to motivate others just to keep fighting."
Going into Sunday's conference showdown, the Rojiblancos are 2-2-2 against west opponents and face a Portland team that is unbeaten in its last eight matches. Coupled with the energetic atmosphere at JELD-WEN Field, Avila knows that Sunday's 2 p.m. (PT) match is as crucial as any game the Rojiblancos have had all year.
"It's always fun playing at Portland, the atmosphere is fantastic," added Avila. "The crowd is going to be very excited and fast-going, so we need to try and slow that down just a bit. We're very motivated. Portland has been doing well, so we just want to come in and disturb things," concluded the midfielder.
Preview: The Academy Looks to Move up in the Standings
The season is almost over and Chivas USA's U15/16 & U17/18 teams will be looking for a higher berth in U.S. Soccer Development Academy's playoff standings. The young Goats will host Real So Cal this Saturday, May 11 at Mt. San Antonio College.
Starting off the day, Chivas USA's U17/18 team will be looking for a higher berth in the wildcard pool when they face Real So Cal's U17/18 squad in the second-to-last match of the season. The young Goats currently hold a four-game unbeaten streak, most recently defeating Real Salt Lake AZ U17/18 last Saturday.
With the win, the Red-and-White moved up to the tenth spot in the wildcard pool, and sit in fifth place of the Southwest Division standings. Meanwhile, Real So Cal enter the match with a 4-1 victory over the San Diego Surf U17/18 on Sunday. They sit in first place in the wildcard playoff pool, and in third of the Southwest Division standings.
The best team in the West in their age category is Chivas USA's U15/16 team. The young Goats sit at the top of the Southwest Division standings, and are qualifying to the USSDA playoffs in the sixth overall spot, holding an 18-3-5 record this season.
Chivas' U15/16 hold a 10-game unbeaten streak entering the match against Real So Cal U15/16, most recently defeating Real Salt Lake AZ U15/16 4-2. Their opponent this Saturday, Real So Cal, sits just below the Goats in the standings, but took their second consecutive loss last Sunday against the San Diego Surf.
Training Report: Two days before Portland
Chivas USA completed today their third practice session of the week in preparation for Sunday's conference showdown against the Portland Timbers on Sunday at JELD-WEN Field. The 2 p.m. (PT) match is the first of three meetings programmed this season between the Western Conference rivals and the Rojiblancos enter the match having taken three straight wins from Portland.
The morning session kicked off with a light team jog around the Home Depot Center's Field 6 as a quick warm-up. The Rojiblancos, under the instruction of strength and conditioning coach Osvaldo Scansetti, were divided into groups of four to run a series of agility and speed drills for approximately 15 minutes with the objective of extensive warm-ups. The groups completed multiple variations of skipping, high-knees and explosion drills through cones that were positioned about ten yards from start to finish.
After completing their agility and warm-up drills, the Goats partnered up in twos to work on long passes from about 30 yards across the width of the field. The goal was to sharpening accuracy and precision when sending the long balls.
The morning session culminated with an 11-on-11 scrimmage that ran the full length of the field. The scrimmage included about 25 minutes of real-time play and afterwards it focused on set pieces - both corner kicks and designed plays in and around the box under the watch and instruction of Coach Jose Luis Sanchez Sola.
The Red-and-White then moved on to scoring drills. The activity ended with a friendly shootout competition won by the goalkeepers who stopped the attacking players from scoring. Within laughter and jokes, Friday's session concluded with stretching and cool down exercises.
The RebaÃÂ±o Angelino will have their final practice in Los Angeles tomorrow at 8 a.m. (PT) before departing to Portland ahead of Sunday's match.