CHIVAS: Bolaños' hat trick a step forward

CARSON -- Miller Bolaños netted the fourth hat trick for Chivas USA this year -- none, alas, in a competitive first-team game -- as the Goats rallied to beat the National Premier Soccer League's Fullerton Rangers, 3-2, Tuesday in Home Depot Center's Track and Field Stadium.

Bolaños finished from crosses from Jorge Villafaña in the 68th minute and trialist Victor Chavez in the 80th. He also converted a penalty kick in the 12th minute, after Chivas director of soccer operations Kevin Esparza -- serving as referee after the officiating crew didn't show -- whistled Normando Mariscal after contact with Villafaña.

Julio Madrigal scored both goals for the Rangers, curling in a corner kick off of goalkeeper Patrick McLain's hands in the third minute and then firing the fourth-tier club ahead again 11 minutes into the second half.

Bolaños continues to assimilate into American soccer, which is a far more physical, frantic game than he's used to in Ecuador.

“Before I came here, they had told me it's a very strong soccer, and little by little I'm going to adapt and I'm going to adjust to the group,” he said.

Bolaños has made just two appearances in five MLS games, both off the bench, and is trying to work his way into the first-team starting XI. Games like these help.

“What we want is for him to be on the ball more, because he's got some special qualities, and it's just keeping him engaged all the time and keeping him present in the match all the time so he can do those things,” assistant coach Greg Vanney said. “He's obviously not the best defender in the world, so the more he's on the ball and dictating the game and the more present he is in the attacks, the better he can be. I think games like this give him opportunities to attack where you can really see those qualities and he can start to build and get used to the tight spaces that are in [soccer in] this country.

“It's really tight spaces. Pressure comes fast. You really don't have as much time as you think you may have, and it's just him catching up with that. You can see flashes of how talented he is, and we think he;s going to be a big part of how successful we are as we continue to progress.”

Cesar Romero netted hat tricks in a March 18 friendly against UC Riverside and in last week's MLS Reserve League win over the Galaxy. Trialist John Owoeri, since released, also had a hat trick against UCR.

Bolaños, on his three-goal performance: “Every game I want to score. Today wasn't the exception.”

WORTH NOTING: Former UCLA winger Eder Arreola, who was taken by Houston in January's supplemental draft but did not make the Dynamo roster, tweeted Tuesday night that he will train with Chivas' “reserves” on Wednesday. … Michael Lahoud, who is coming back from a hamstring injury, made his first game appearance since the final preseason match March 4, coming on in the 68th minute. He was limping at the end and declined comment. “I think he got a knock in the backside,” Vanney said. “Doesn't sound like a pull or anything. Doesn't sound like the hamstring or any of that. I think it's something that should dissipate quickly.” ... X-rays indicate midfielder Peter Vagenas has fractured ribs, suffered in the reserve win over L.A. No timeline yet on his return. … The lowpoint of the scrimmage arrived after Chivas defender John Alexander Valencia, a black Colombian, made a crunching tackle, and a woman supporting Fullerton yelled out a racial epithet that was heard throughout the stands and on the field. No action was taken.


Home Depot Center Track and Field Stadium (Carson)

Chivas USA 3, Fullerton Rangers 2

F -- Julio Madrigal 3

C -- Miller Bolaños pen. 12

F -- Julio Madrigal 56

C -- Miller Bolaños (Jorge Villafaña) 68

C -- Miller Bolaños (Victor Chavez) 80

Chivas USA: Patrick McLain; Mario Ledesma, John Alexander Valencia, Scott Gordon, Eric Gonzalez (Gerardo Torres, 68); Blair Gavin (Victor Chavez, 64); Miller Bolaños, Marco Delgado, Laurent Courtois (Michael Lahoud, 68), Jorge Villafaña; Casey Townsend (Jorge Marquez,46).

Fullerton Rangers: Jhordany Hernandez (Tony Flores, 46); Thomas Culver (Eduardo Almarez, 34), Leobardo Alvarez, Julio Garrido, Normando Mariscal; Julio Madrigal (Alex Muñoz, 37; Carlos Godinez, 68), Diego Turoldo (Julio Madrigal, 46), Alex Muñoz (Carlos Godinez, 23; Diego Arenas, 46), Armando Rocha (Mike Piechota, 23); Eder Roldan (Greg Piechota, 23; David Arvizu, 46), David Arvizu (Eder Roldan, 31; Raul Dominguez, 55; Julio Madrigal, 70).

Yellow cards: None.

Referee: Kevin Esparza. Att.: c. 80.