Five players to watch on Chivas USA

Osael Romero will have to adjust to physical demands of MLS

Chivas USA’s 2010 MLS season starts on Friday evening with
the team hosting the Colorado Rapids at The Home Depot Center. As the
Red-and-White prepare for the club’s sixth season, here are five players to
watch in the upcoming months.

1. Sacha Kljestan

Sacha Kljestan has a lot to think about at the start of the
2010 season. First, there’s the issue of whether or not he’ll be included on
the U.S. roster for the World Cup in June. He’s certainly a leading candidate,
but as he himself has admitted, he must have a strong first month of games in
MLS if he is to lock down a spot.

Second, Kljestan will have the fortunes of Chivas USA riding
on his shoulders as he prepares for his first season as team co-captain
alongside fellow national teamer Jonathan Bornstein. Will the added pressure
get to him, or will it be just what he needs to help him step up to the plate?

2. Jorge Flores

Jorge Flores has always been a solid player, but his abilities
on the field during his initial appearances with Chivas USA were
perhaps overshadowed by the incredible story of how he got into the league in
the first place. But now, on the eve of his fourth year in MLS, Flores is poised to make the transition from Wunderkind
to full-blown impact player. He’s been a dynamo for the Goats during preseason,
and a place as the team’s starting left-midfielder looks likely.  

3. Ante Jazic

With Jesse Marsch, Paulo Nagamura, Carey Talley, and Sasha
Victorine all parting ways with Chivas USA during the offseason, defender Ante
Jazic has become one of the club’s elder statesmen almost overnight. It’s a
mantle he seems ready to bear.

He’s been in fine form during preseason and served as
captain of the Canadian National Team for the first time in his career this
past January. His efforts have not gone unnoticed by new Chivas USA Head Coach
Martín Vásquez, who admitted he felt “lucky” to have Jazic on the roster.

4. Osael Romero

There is no doubt about Romero’s talent. He’s quick, he’s
agile, and he has a nose for the net. His eight international goals for the
Salvadoran National Team are certainly proof of that. The real question is, how
will he handle the physical style of MLS play?

At just 5’6”, he’s the shortest player on the Chivas USA
squad by two inches and an easy target for some of the league’s bigger
defensive midfielders. But if his pace and nimbleness can keep him in open
space, then the Red-and-White will be off and running.

5. Maykel Galindo

Cuban-born striker Maykel Galindo scored 12 goals in
2007, leading Chivas USA
to the top of the Western Conference and earning himself a fourth-place finish
in that year’s Golden Boot standings. Now, after two years of injuries and
surgeries, Galindo looks poised to make the same impact. He seems very
comfortable in Martín Vásquez’s new attack-heavy approach, scoring seven goals
in preseason play, and could pose a real threat to opposing defenses this
season.