Chivas USA young guns thankful for playing time
CARSON, Calif. -- Between them, Chivas USA third-year players Gerson Mayén and Jorge Flores have seen the pitch just 242 minutes so far this season. And yet, when the pair was called into action against Mexican First Division side Pachuca last Wednesday, each performed admirably in helping to earn a solid 1-0 victory for the Goats.
Mayen’s and Flores’ success against Pachuca, even with so little game experience this year, should come as no surprise to any Red-and-White fan. The two have long been important role-players for Chivas USA and are always able to step in when called upon.
“This team has good players – anybody who comes into the game can make a difference,” Mayén told MLSsoccer.com after Wednesday’s match. “For me, I just try to stay focused at all times. Even when I’m not named in the squad, I watch the game and try to keep my concentration always. That way, when I do get a shot, I’m ready to go.”
Flores entered Wednesday’s game at halftime, replacing left-back Ante Jazic. Mayén was added in the 72nd in place of Rodolfo Espinoza and slotted into the left midfield position in front of Flores.
“Getting actual game time is really important for us younger guys,” said Flores after the match. “It helps to build our confidence and allows us a chance to get into the rhythm of the team. I hope we can continue to get these chances to improve and show the coach what we can do.”
Flores and Mayén are no strangers to one another on the pitch. The two played together in the Chivas USA Youth Academy before joining the Red-and-White first team, and both were included on the roster for the United States U-20 team that competed at the 2009 FIFA U-20 World Cup.
“Gerson and I have a good friendship on the field,” said Flores. “We’re used to being together and I think our communication is good.”
While both players have done well for themselves in the time that they’ve gotten, both admit that it can be hard to step into a game after not having played in a while.
“It’s hard to get your rhythm out there because we don’t play a lot of games,” said Mayén. “Especially against these Mexican teams – they keep ball very well, so you it’s hard because you feel like you’re chasing the game sometimes.”
Nevertheless, both Mayén and Flores are grateful for any chance they get to step onto the field and will continue to stay focused off the pitch so that they can take advantage of their opportunities on it.
“I’m happy for the minutes I get,” said Flores. “It’s a chance to improve my own game and get some more game experience.”