Strikers will take goals any way they can get them. Whether it's a diving header or tiny deflection; a beautiful strike or a fortunate bounce past the keeper, a goal is a goal, right?
Not so fast, says Chivas USA forward Alan Gordon. There is one type of goal that doesn't quite count: a preseason goal.
Gordon is off to a hot start this preseason, tallying a goal in each of Chivas USA's two exhibition games. He opened the scoring with a towering header in the 2-0 win against Fresno Fuego, and calmly finished a great ball from Victor Estupiñan for the only goal in the 1-0 win against San Jose.
Getting their first goal can be a big moment in a player's season, especially for a forward. It relieves pressure, creates confidence and often leads to more goals. When asked if these preseason goals 'count' as his first goals of his season, getting him off the mark, Gordon was blunt.
"No," he said without hesitation. "It feels good, but this is just preseason. It's always good to score goals, but it doesn’t count until the season starts."
In 9 games with Chivas USA last season, Gordon tallied one goal and three assists. He's hoping to build on those stats this season and the challenge begins now. With six forwards in training camp, Gordon is working hard to make sure he stands out.
"There's competition, which is a good thing," said Gordon of the six-striker camp. "It's a long preseason and [all the forwards] are out here working hard. [We all] want to get on the field. Our job is to make it tough on the coaching staff, because they'll have to select the starting-eleven."
Though the forwards are competing against each other for playing time, it’s definitely a friendly competition. According to Gordon, he gets along really well with his fellow strikers both on and off the field.
"It's great actually, we have a really good relationship," he said. But 'Gordo', a master of the straight-faced joke, noticed one of those other forwards walking by, and couldn’t resist taking a good-natured dig at his younger teammate.
"Except for Braun," he added. "Braun is tough to get along with. But the rest of us get along just great."