On The Road With Chivas USA

With three games in eight days, Chivas USA has been on the road for nearly one week

May 4 Practice Report Image 2

Photo Credit: 
David Lindholm/Chivas USA

It’s been sunny and beautiful the last few days here in Los Angeles, but Chivas USA wouldn’t know it.

The team has been away since last Thursday, battling Eastern
Conference foes the Chicago Fire on Saturday and the New England Revolution on
Wednesday. The road trip will come to a close this Thursday, May 6th,
when the Red-and-White will return home to The Home Depot Center.

“Usually, when we travel, we only go for two or three days,”
Chivas USA
co-captain Jonathan Bornstein told MLSoccer.com on Tuesday. “But for me, I like
hanging out with the team for a week straight. The whole time, you’re building bonds.”

Road trips aren’t easy. Chivas USA has been in three different
time zones in the last six days, staying in two different hotels, and traveling
together in cramped busses. When they do finally arrive at practice, the team
is training on fields they aren’t used to in weather they aren’t used to.

“When you do go on the road, especially to the East Coast,
you have to acclimate to the time change,” said Bornstein. “The weather is also
a little bit different, and the fields are different. Playing New England on
turf is a lot different than playing on the Home Depot Center grass. But it’s still the game of
soccer.”

While they’re away from home, the Chivas USA players also eat
most meals together.

“Team meals are great,” said midfielder Jesus Padilla. “We
eat a lot of pasta and chicken. We have to eat well to prepare for practices
and games.”

While some meals are eaten individually, with players
finding food on their own before and after training sessions, new Chivas USA
Head Coach Martín Vásquez has increased the number of meals eaten as a group to
encourage unity among the squad.

“This year is a little different than years past,” said
Bornstein. “We’re constantly eating as a team. We usually get up around 9:30
for breakfast, then we have training, and then lunch is after that around two
o’clock. Then we usually have a dinner at seven or seven thirty. You have a
little bit of downtime to do what you want between those meals.”

That downtime is generally spent with teammates, killing
time with activities in the hotel or sightseeing in whichever city the club is
staying.

“A lot of us have been playing been cards,” said Bornstein
of Chivas USA’s
current road trip. “In Chicago,
we walked around the city. We went and watched the Lakers game. A lot of the
guys are big sports fans, so we try to watch as many sports games as possible.”

“I also bought a Ninentendo DSI and Justin [Braun] has one
too, so we battle each other on Mario Kart,” continued Bornstein. “I use Yoshi,
and so does he. But he doesn’t even stand a chance with his Yoshi. It’s not
even a contest.

When they’re on the road, the players of Chivas USA
are also paired into roommates for hotel stays.

“The roommates are decided by [Team Administrator/Assistant
Coach] Kevin Esparza,” said Bornstein. “He goes around and makes the match-ups
based on how things are going. My roommate this year is Sacha [Kljestan]. Sacha
and I are co-captains, so it’s good for us to be together because we can talk
about stuff when we need to.”

Chivas USA
will return to Los Angeles on Thursday to begin
preparations for Saturday’s match against Houston
at The Home Depot Center. And while they’ll be happy to be home once more, the road
trips certainly aren’t all bad.

“Road trips can be hard,” said Padilla, “but our team is a
family. And that helps.”