Chelis eyes Oswaldo Minda's return as Chivas USA defense weathers injury absences

“With Minda on the pitch, we are better at holding the ball" -Chelis

Oswaldo Minda training

Photo Credit: 
Olivia Cervantes

CARSON, Calif. – If there is a positive to take from Chivas USA defender Wálter Vilchez’s ongoing recovery from injury, it’s that it has allowed manager José Luis “Chelís” Sánchez Solá to gauge the depth he has in his back line.

And so far, Chelís has been pleased with what he’s seen.

Sánchez Solá has not backed off his use of a three-man line since Vilchez sprained the medial collateral ligament in his left knee in the 3-1 victory over FC Dallas on Mar. 10.

Bobby Burling was ready and has taken advantage of his opportunity,” Sánchez Solá told “Once Joaquin Velazquez went out [with the red card against LA on Mar. 17],Carlos Borja was ready and also took advantage. We know we have Mario de Luna, Vilchez and Borja, too. With [Steve] Purdy we don’t know what he has because he hasn’t played, but in that line of three, we have five that we’ve played. We know they can respond.”

READ: No controversy this week as Velazquez plays the hero for Chivas USA

Vilchez, who also sprained his left ankle and needed crutches to walk off the pitch following the FCD match, is expected to be sidelined at least another three weeks. Velazquez and de Luna have started all four games this season, while Burling has started in three.

“It’s great knowing there’s guys on the bench ready to step in,” forward Juan Agudelo told “The style we play centers around working hard. Everybody in training is working really hard and, going into games, players are obviously going to chase the ball like crazy. We need depth.”

Elsewhere, Chelís said midfielder Oswaldo Minda (hamstring) would be available for Saturday's home match against the Vancouver Whitecaps after missing last week’s 4-1 win over the Chicago Fire. Minda, who left the Mar. 17 match against the LA Galaxy in the 18th minute after a collision with Mike Magee, walked off the practice field Tuesday with a bag of ice wrapped around his left thigh.

“With Minda on the pitch, we are better at holding the ball,” Sánchez Solá said. “Right now we aren’t making the required passes. We recover the ball very quickly, but we also lose it quickly."