Jazic gets turn to captain Chivas USA to victory
CARSON, Calif. – First it was Sacha Kljestan. Then it was Mariano Trujillo. When Jonathan Bornstein came back from the 2010 FIFA World Cup, he took a turn.
And on Saturday evening against Columbus at the Home Depot Center, it was Ante Jazic who wore the Chivas USA captain’s armband.
“It’s always an honor to captain any side,” Jazic told MLSsoccer.com after the Goats’ 3-1 victory over the Crew. “We needed this win. I thought it was a great team performance. Every guy gave 100 percent on the field and it showed. We deserved this win and hopefully we can build from here.”
The Canadian-born Jazic has been an important piece of the Red-and-White lineup this season with strong play on the left side of defense. His consistency in 2010 has earned him numerous plaudits from Chivas USA head coach Martín Vásquez, and he was honored in January by earning the captain’s armband for the Canadian National Team for the first time in a friendly against Jamaica.
“I had the privilege of captaining Canada in January,” said Jazic. “So serving as a team captain is something that I know and that I’ve done before.”
With a professional career that spans 13 years and four countries, Jazic has provided veteran leadership to Chivas USA’s crop of young talent this season.
“You can just see with the young guys – every game, they’re getting better and more comfortable,” said Jazic. “And the new guys that we brought in have made a tremendous impact so far. We’ve had a lot of new players, but not a lot of MLS experience. Hopefully we’re going to improve game by game.”
One of the new players with whom Jazic has forged a solid on-field relationship is Mexican Rodolfo Espinoza. Espinoza has all but locked down the starting job at left midfield in front of Jazic and has notched three assists in his first four games.
“Working with Rodolfo has been great,” said Jazic. “He works tremendously hard off the ball, so he’ll run back defensively. He’s been a great addition.”
Whether Jazic continues to wear the Chivas USA captain’s armband remains to be seen. But with or without it, he’s excited about the Goats’ recent form and ready for this weekend’s clash back in Canada against former head coach Preki and Toronto FC.
“My family will be in town for that game and I’m looking forward to having some Tim Horton’s,” said Jazic. “There are still plenty of games left this season. I like our chances. We’re hard to play against now. Defensively, we sorted things out and we’re starting to score some goals.”