[MLS] Chivas USA capped a nine-day training camp in Central California -- at a venue new coach Robin Fraser said offered the "best of both worlds" -- by beating PDL club Fresno Fuego, 2-0, on Tuesday with goals by Alan Gordon and SuperDraft pick Victor Estupinan.
Gordon scored in the 31st minute and Estupinan in the 80th as Fraser started two entirely different lineups in each half, with midfielder Jesus Padilla coming on as a sub late in the first half and departing the match midway through the second period. He used 24 players in the team's first preseason game.
“It was more than an exercise than anything else but it served its purpose to get players some time on the field,” said Fraser by telephone while heading back to Los Angeles. “It’s nice to start off with a win and it’s always better to win than to lose, but it’s our first game against a non-MLS opponent and we’re not looking at it as any more than that.”
Fraser selected a site in Templeton, Calif., near Paso Robles, after “getting a tip” on a location not used before by an MLS team. He says it worked out perfectly.
“A gentleman who owns a lot of property in the area built some soccer fields and was kind enough to open them up for us to use,” said Fraser. “You wouldn’t know it driving by on the highway but it’s there and it worked out very well for us.
“We really had the best of both worlds. It’s isolated enough so the players can concentrate on all the things we’re working on, but it’s not so far away that there’s nothing else for them to do.”
Gordon headed in a cross from forward partner Tristan Bowen to ring up a goal for the former Galaxy combination, and Estupinan -- playing up top with veteran Alejandro Moreno -- scored on a Carlos Borja cross after coming on as a sub in the 63rd minute.
“Victor is a young player  who is very eager to play in the league,” said of the Ecuador native who impressed many observers at the MLS Player Combine last month. “He’s very talented athletically and finds good spaces in the box.”
Fraser has given the team a few days off before training resumes Friday at Home Depot Center, a rather unusual wrinkle so early in preseason yet one not all that surprising, given the coach’s earlier pronouncement that fitness will be a top priority.
“When you’ve put in all the hard work that we have the last week or so, you need time away, to recharge and refocus. You have to do that, otherwise it’s going to be a long six weeks before the season even starts," Fraser said. “The players will come back Friday refreshed and ready to go, and that’s what we expect of them.”
Chivas USA lineups:
(First Half) – Sergio Arias, Mariano Trujillo, Zarek Valentin, Jimmy Conrad, Ante Jazic, Paulo Nagamura, Ben Zemanski, Gerson Mayen (Jesús Padilla 31), Francisco Mendoza, Alan Gordon, Tristan Bowen.
(Second Half) – Kevin Guppy, Carlos Borja, Michael Umaña, Yamith Cuesta, Jorge Flores (Bryan de la Fuente 70), Sal Zizzo, Michael Lahoud, Ernesto Carranza, Cesar Zamora, Jesús Padilla (Victor Estupiñan 63), Alejandro Moreno.