Not the best way Chivas USA's week in Arizona could have gone, with certain starter Blair Gavin hobbling off a little before halftime of Friday's 1-0 victory over Vancouver in Casa Grande.
No word yet on what Gavin hurt nor how serious it is, but the second-year midfielder missed the last two months of last season because of a hamstring injury that he twice re-tweaked.
Gavin was the primary attacking conduit for the Goats (3-2-0), who had the better of play in their third Arizona match but not the best chances. Jesus Padilla got the goal in the 89th minute, streaking between Whitecaps central defenders Greg Janicki and Ryan O'Leary for a ball over the top from Michael Umaña, then slotting past goalkeeper Jay Nolly.
Mariano Trujillo missed a penalty kick after Jeb Brovsky fouled Alan Gordon at the start of the second half, firing wide left.
Heath Pearce made his Chivas debut, seeing little of the ball in the game's first half-hour.
“I think every team comes out and has, like, five or six goals they have written on the board: 'This is what we want to accomplish today,' ” Chivas defender Jimmy Conrad said. “Today maybe we accomplished four of those six things.”
Starting goalkeeper Zach Thornton made a huge save against Vancouver trialist Russell Teibert in the 54th minute, and backup Sergio Arias knocked aside Brazilian trialist Camilo's first shot on a breakaway in the 76th; Camilo's rebound went wide.
MOVING AROUND: Gordon started in central midfield, next to Gavin and in front of Michael Lahoud, in the 4-1-4-1 formation head coach Robin Fraser likes. Trujillo, likely out at right back with Pearce and rookie Zarek Valentin on the scene, got another look in midfield, this time on the left flank. He might fit in better here than on the backline.
Valentin started in the middle, and, near as we can tell, moved to right back when Umaña came on for Pearce. Tristan Bowen returned to action, playing the final 23 minutes, and trialists Jimmy Asprilla and Guillermo Torres saw second-half action.
Paulo Nagamura sat out again, and so did Simon Elliott, who was signed after a brief stint Feb. 7 against San Jose but didn't play during the three games in Arizona.
ZIZZO REDUX: Portland GM Gavin Wilkinson said he'd been asking the Goats for midfielder Sal Zizzo, traded Wednesday to the Timbers for allocation money, since November. “We kept pursuing and asking,” he told reporters.
“What I heard about was how many fans they packed at a USL game. I can only imagine how it will be in MLS this year,” said Zizzo, who claims he's healthy for the first time in two years. “A lot of what you hear is mainly about how passionate the fans are and 'Soccer City, USA.' That's just something that all players want to play in.”
Zizzo, who played 10 games for Chivas last year, says he suffered from heart problems after taking a vigorous fitness test while he was ill when he played in Germany.
“In Germany, they have you go through tests, and I had been dehydrated,” Zizzo said. “I had the flu and had been throwing up all day. It kind of set me up to fail. They gave me a week to recover. I didn't recover completely, but I did the test again. I completed it, but they saw something that they didn't like. I took the same test two weeks later, and they said I was fine. To me, that's in the past. I know I can play and have played since.”
LOANS COMING?: Chivas apparently is looking for loan deals, probably in the second-tier NASL or third-tier USL Pro, for 23-year-old defender Carlos Borja (Anaheim/Loara HS) and teen midfielders Bryan de la Fuente (Bell/Bell HS), who is 18, and Cesar Zamora (Sylmar/Sylmar HS), 19. There are 29 players on the Goats' roster, including all draft picks still in camp, plus four trialists (with more possible), and word from ChivaHQ is that the club will carry 28 players. Teams may carry from 26 to 30 players, including three goalkeepers.
Chivas USA: Zach Thornton (Sergio Arias, 68); Heath Pearce (Michael Umaña, 31); Jimmy Conrad (Andrew Boyens, 68), Zarek Valentin (Jimmy Asprilla, 68), Ante Jazic (Jorge Flores, 46); Michael Lahoud (Ben Zemanski, 46); Francisco Mendoza (Guillermo Torres, 68), Alan Gordon (Jesus Padilla, 68), Blair Gavin (Gerson Mayen, 38), Mariano Trujillo (Tristan Bowen, 68); Alejandro Moreno (Victor Estupiñan, 68).
Vancouver: Jay Nolly; Jonathan Leathers, Greg Janicki, Jay DeMerit (Ryan O'Leary, 46), Alain Rochat; Shea Salinas (Wes Knight, 81), Terry Dunfield, John Thorrington (Jeb Brovsky, 46), Russell Teibert (Nizar Khalfan, 65); Atiba Harris (Long Tan, 54), Davide Chiumiento (Camilo, 60).
CHIVAS USA 2011 PRESEASON (3-2-0)
Feb. 1 vs. Fresno Fuego (PDL) at Templeton, Calif.: W 2-0 (goals by Gordon, Estupiñan)
Feb. 7 vs. San Jose Earthquakes at HDC: W 1-0 (Gordon)
Feb. 12 vs. Seattle Sounders at Casa Grande, Ariz.: L 0-1
Feb. 15 vs. Real Salt Lake at Casa Grande, Ariz.: L 0-2
Feb. 18 vs. Vancouver Whitecaps at Casa Grande, Ariz.: W 1-0 (Padilla)
Feb. 25 vs. D.C. United at HDC
March 12 vs. FC Dallas at Frisco, Texas