Trujillo an important part of Chivas USA offense
Chivas USA second-year Mariano Trujillo may be listed on the team roster as a defender, but don’t let that fool you.
The 32-year-old has settled nicely into the Red-and-White’s more offense-centric system this season, and has been wreaking havoc on opposing defenses from the right flank. His experience and versatility make him a dangerous weapon out of the back for Chivas USA head coach Martín Vásquez.
“I love the new style,” said Trujillo of Vásquez’s new attack-minded system. “My whole career I’ve played like that – pushing forward. I think, actually, that my skills are more offensive than defensive. It’s good for me that Martín has asked me to go forward and support the midfielders.”
Trujillo is no stranger to offense. The Mexico City native spent a number of years in the midfield during his days in the Mexican First Division, and has 35 career goals during his 11 years in Mexico.
“I’ve played as a right midfielder and as a right back, and I’m comfortable with both,” said Trujillo. “Every time I played as a right back, the coach asked me to move forward to help the midfielders and forwards.”
Trujillo’s more offensive positioning puts him in direct communication with Michael Lahoud, who has often been slotted in front of Trujillo at right midfield. The two have built a strong relationship on the field and are eager to continue improving their partnership.
“Mike and I have been talking a lot during the week,” said Trujillo. “We want to be aware of the movement that we can do to hurt other teams from the right side. Our communication is going well and is getting better, and that’s going to help us on the field.”
“I feel really comfortable with the midfielders,” he continued. “Blair [Gavin] and Ben [Zemanski] did a really good job against San Jose and I feel like we can keep the ball well and be dangerous.”
Indeed, Trujillo and the rest of the Chivas USA midfield had their strongest game to date against San Jose last Saturday. The Red-and-White scored three goals in a single match for the first time in more than a year, and both Trujillo and Lahoud notched assists on long, high passes into the box.
“I think he had the most touches out of anybody on the field,” said Vásquez of Trujillo after Chivas USA’s victory over San Jose. “And I think he’s been one of the most consistently solid players from preseason until now.”
As Trujillo continues to play a major part in the Chivas USA offense, the veteran has committed himself to improving his attacking skills during training sessions. Specifically, he has focused on his shooting and his crossing.
“If you’re going forward, you’re going to get the chance to put some crosses into the box and maybe even take some shots,” said Trujillo. “I’ve been practicing those things so that if there is any chance to do it, I can do it well and help the team.”