[MLS]No look at the calendar is needed to perceive that the MLS preseason is ebbing away. The marking is tighter, the pace is faster, and a team like Chivas USA, which played its first MLS opponent in 2009 Wednesday at Home Depot Center, finds out quickly what it's been missing.
Cam Weaver scored in the seventh minute of a rough, physical match won by San Jose, 1-0. Chivas USA midfielder Paulo Nagamura took a caution for a hard foul in the first minute and four more yellow cards were handed out as San Jose brought its opponents up to speed.
"This match was a lot faster paced than we've been playing," said Chivas USA striker Justin Braun said. "We didn't play our game."
San Jose got its goal when Arturo Alvarez got behind the Chivas USA defense and centered a low ball that Weaver drove into the net from the edge of the six-yard box. By winning, the Quakes raised their preseason mark to 5-1 and rebounded from a 2-1 loss to Colorado on Monday in the first game of a three-match visit to Southern California.
U.S. midfielder Bobby Convey, acquired last month after being released by English club Reading, played the final 22 minutes, and San Jose also fielded midfielder Brandon McDonald and defender Mike Zaher, who were waived earlier this week by Los Angeles and D.C. United, respectively.
Rookie Michael Lahoud, taken by Chivas USA as the No. 9 overall pick in the 2009 SuperDraft, started at right back, the third different position he's played in preseason. Primarily a wide midfielder at Wake Forest University, he's played on the flank and centrally as Coach Preki tunes up his squad for the start of the season.
Former Crew midfielder Simon Elliott started again for San Jose and his chances to earn a roster spot have improved in the wake of rookie Brad Ring, taken in the second round, declared out for the season with a hip injury, and the waiving of veteran Ned Grabavoy.
San Jose plays Loyola Marymount University Friday before returning to the Bay Area later that day. Next up for Chivas USA is the Chicago Fire at Home Depot Center on Saturday.
"This was our first MLS game,"Preki. "I think we got reminded today that this league is a little more physical."
March 4 in Carson, Calif.
Chivas USA 0, San Jose 1.
Goal:Weaver (Alvarez) 7.
San Jose - Cannon, Roberts (Lee 58), Gray, Garcia, Denton (Zaher 68), Salinas, Corrales (McDonald 68), Elliott (Anibaba 68), Alvarez (Convey 68), Weaver (Campos 68), Amarikwa (Somma 46).
Chivas USA -- Thornton, Jazic (Curtin 72), Bornstein, Thomas, Lahoud, Stepanovic (Franks 82), Marsch (Gargan 63), Nagamura, Kljestan (Scotti 66), Braun, Lillingston.