By: Mario Melara
Los Angeles, CA – Chivas USA’s participation in the fourth edition of the 2010 North American SuperLiga tournament will be a great measuring stick for head coach Martin Vasquez to determine how this team is progressing and a great opportunity to build cohesion amongst his squad, especially after the recent additions of Venezuelan forward Giancarlo Maldonado and Brazilian midfielder Paulo Nagamura.
The SuperLiga is an annual North American tournament that takes the top four MLS teams from the 2009 MLS season that did not already qualify for the 2010–11 CONCACAF Champions League and competes against four clubs from the Primera División de México, who are also in the same situation. Two MLS teams will be paired with two Mexican club teams, too form two groups. The top two teams in each group after group play will advance to the semifinals. The winning club of the 2010 SuperLiga will walk away with over $1 million dollars in prize money.
Chivas USA will open group play of SuperLiga on Thursday, July 15th, when they host Puebla F.C. at the Home Depot Center at 7:30pm. Also in Group B are the Houston Dynamo (MLS) and Pachuca (MEX). In the history of the SuperLiga, Chivas USA has placed no better than 6th place.
After Thursday’s match, Chivas USA will fly out to Houston to prepare for their second match against the Houston Dynamo on July 18th at Robertson’s stadium. The final group stage game for the “rojo y blanco” will take place on Wednesday, July 21st against Pachuca (MEX) at the Home Depot Center at 7:30pm.
After successfully reaching the semifinals of the 2010 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and recently earning a crucial three points on the road in a victory against the Kansas City Wizards, things are looking up for Chivas USA who seem to be finding their groove 15 games into the MLS season.
The additions of Maldonado and Nagamura were strategic signings by the Chivas USA front office who are attempting to fill in holes both in the offense and the midfield. If 23-year old Chivas USA forward Justin Braun can duplicate his performance from the last couple of days (four goals in two matches), we might just see the newest offensive dynamic duo of the MLS.
If Chivas USA can reach the semifinal round, and it won’t be easy, it would give the team a great boost of confidence when they return to their normal MLS fixtures. I expect this team to have a great showing, riding that hot scoring streak of Justin Braun. We all know that Coach Martin Vasquez has recently had the team work extremely hard on the fundamentals, and controlling possession. In a short tournament like this, the key will be ball control and minimizing your mistakes.
You can catch all the Chivas USA recaps of the 2010 SuperLiga right here on 90soccer.com.