Zemanski makes early case for Chivas USA MVP
CARSON, Calif. – Quietly, Ben Zemanski has made a case as being the most crucial member of the Chivas USA squad early in the 2011 season.
The second-year man has started in the Rojiblancos’ first five matches, even going the
distance in four of them, but it doesn’t stop there. Due to injuries and national
team call-ups involving his teammates, the University of Akron
alum has played in a number of different positions during the early part of the campaign.
From center back to defensive midfield and even spots
further up the field, Zemanski is one of several players that have moved all around
the field for the Goats.
“It’s got to be tough as a young player being asked to play
different roles in a relatively new system, but he’s responded well,” said Chivas USA head coach Robin Fraser. “He’s a young and intuitive player, which makes the transition easy to
whatever position he plays into.”
This intuitiveness that Zemanski has displayed in his short
career has only been boosted by the presence of World Cup veterans Simon
Elliott and Jimmy Conrad. The pair have proven instrumental this season for
Zemanski’s development at both midfield and central defense.
In the match against Vancouver, Elliott’s presence seemed to
be a calming influence on Zemanski, as the veteran midfielder was able to rein
in the occasionally over-eager Zemanski. With Elliott behind him, the pair did
well to maintain possession and keep the potent Whitecaps attack off the board.
“Simon is a great player, he sees the game very well and is
able to pick out passes where we can get into attacking spots,” Zemanski said.
“He has helped me develop this year and not only is he constantly giving me
advice on how to improve my game, but by watching him play, I’m able to pick
Although Zemanski may be one of only five players to start
in every game this year for Chivas USA, his starting spot is still far from a
With experienced players like Elliott and Paulo Nagamura
returning from injury, the battle for playing spots has become fierce as Chivas
USA look to form a cohesive group going forward.
“We do have a great deal of depth in the midfield on our
team,” Zemanski said. “I believe that depth is key to having a successful team.
Having strong competition each and every day forces you to be at your best in
every training. When you're training to be your best, you game is
constantly improving and the team will benefit. I enjoy the competition.”
Adam Serrano covers
Chivas USA for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and
on Twitter: @adamserrano