Mayén, Cuesta thrive in US Open Cup for Chivas

Young players earn valuable minutes in defeat of Austin Aztex

At just 21 years old, Gerson Mayén and Yamith Cuesta are two of the youngest players on the Chivas USA roster. But with a handful of first-team appearances between them and U-20 international experience on both their resumes—Mayén with the United States, Cuesta with Colombia—the pair have become important components of the Red-and-White squad.

Mayén and Cuesta both featured in Goats’ 1-0 Open Cup victory over USSF D2 side the Austin Aztex on Tuesday evening, and each was glad to see some time on the field ahead of the Red-and-White’s busy upcoming schedule.

“I work hard every day,” Mayén said. “If I get a chance to play here in the Open Cup, I’m more than happy to do that.”

Mayén joined Chivas on March 27 of 2008 after a successful career in the club’s youth academy with the U-18s. He has made fifteen total appearances for the first team, notching four assists during the 2009 season. He has earned two starts so far in 2010, and will be looking for more as the summer wears on.

Mayén was introduced in the 70th minute of Tuesday’s match and helped the Goats secure the victory with a solid effort in midfield.

“I give it my all whenever I play,” said Mayén after the game against Austin. “As long as the team wins, that’s what counts.”

“Austin is a pretty good team,” he continued. “The game felt pretty similar to MLS. They all knew what it would take to compete against us.”

Yamith Cuesta joined the Red-and-White on loan from Expreso Rojo of the Colombian Second Division in August of last season. He quickly became an important part of the Goats defense, earning eleven starts (including two playoff appearances) at the end of last year.

Cuesta has seen less of the field so far this season with the additions of center backs Michael Umaña and Darío Delgado, but was handed the starting job on Tuesday evening and looked solid in his ninety minutes.

“I’m happy with the way things went,” Cuesta said. “I’ve been working hard with my teammates all season so that I play well when I get the opportunity. I did things as best as I could, and it was great to get a win against a team that fought hard.”

Cuesta had tallied just three minutes this season before the game against Austin, but his imposing stature and physical style may earn him more time on the pitch before the year is through. If Tuesday evening was any indication, Cuesta has built a good relationship with his defensive teammates and will be a useful tool in head coach Martín Vásquez’s toolbox moving forward.

“I’m only 21, so I have a lot to learn,” said Cuesta. “There are some new faces in defense, but we work together every day in training, and I’ve been able to learn about who they are, both as people and as players. That’s what’s most important.”