Chivas USA's Padilla enjoying spell of strong form

The attacker has looked dangerous with new partner Maldonado

CARSON, Calif. -- Jesus Padilla is on a roll. The 23 year-old Chivas USA attacker has been enjoying a spell of strong form lately and has become an important piece of head coach Martín Vásquez’s plans for the rest of the season.

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Most recently, Padilla has been playing as a striker alongside new signing Giancarlo Maldonado. The pair were responsible for the game-tying goal against Salt Lake last Saturday and have struck up a good friendship on the pitch.

“Giancarlo is a great player,” Padilla told MLSsoccer.com after training on Tuesday. “We know he’s a goalscorer and, if he gets an opportunity, he’s going to put it away. I just have to do my thing alongside him.”

Padilla and Maldonado saw their first minutes together in SuperLiga 2010 last week and have impressed with their chemistry at the front of the Goats’ attack.

“Their mobility is going to occupy defenders and they’re going to be a handful,” said Vásquez of Padilla and Maldonado after Chivas USA’s match against Pachuca match last Wednesday. “They have good chemistry. We’re going to be able to create opportunities and hopefully they can put them away.”

Since arriving at Chivas USA on August 17 of last year, Padilla had spent much of his time with the team in the midfield. But he’s happy to have been moved forward and is willing to do whatever it takes to get on the field.

“I would play goalkeeper if I had to,” said Padilla with a smile. “I just want to be on the field. I’ll play wherever Martín puts me. I’m just going to do my best and do it well.”

Padilla has scored four times so far this season and has looked dangerous in front of net. Chivas USA, currently in last place in the Western Conference, have scored a conference-low 18 goals and will be glad of his services as the team enters the second half of the season.

“Let the goalscoring opportunities come,” said Padilla. “I’ll do my best to keep putting them into the back of the net. We didn’t start the season off too well, but we know that we have to close hard. We have to do our best to finish strong and try to make the playoffs.”

Chivas USA host Eastern Conference powerhouse Columbus Crew on Saturday night at The Home Depot Center at 10:30 pm ET.