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Rivera excited for every opportunity to compete

In his first season with Chivas USA, midfielder Jose Manuel Rivera has already displayed a leadership role on the club with both his actions and vocal demeanor on the pitch. Rivera’s enthusiasm for soccer is noticeable every time the 27-year-old Guadalajara native steps on the field for a match or training session.

As one of the players with the most professional experience on the young Red-and-White squad, Rivera has made eight appearances this season with the Goats, but has shined with his performances in recent Reserve League matches. Rivera has scored a team-high three goals to lead the Goats to a 2-0-1 record in the Reserve League and has also played a big role as a leader in the games.

And come Monday, when Chivas’ Reserves square off against the Reserves for their cross-hall rival the LA Galaxy, Rivera will no doubt be looked upon to provide the same energy and leadership he has previously shown. Rivera says that matches such as these are always effective in sharpening a player’s skills and physical condition, and at the end of the day, it is still a joy to be able to go out and compete.

“That’s always the case for me,” said Rivera. “Even training should be that way. For me, that’s how soccer has always been. It’s a joy to come and play. So to have an added game approaching is just another notch in one’s career, another way of sharpening that rhythm and to add to the team’s motivation.”

Rivera recorded his first score in a convincing 3-2 win against Real Salt Lake and doubled up in a 3-3 come-from-behind draw at Vancouver. The attacker also recorded the assist on Academy-product Caleb Calvert’s goal in the 16-year-old’s debut to help deliver a 2-1 victory over Seattle’s Reserves.

The Reserve squad can often incorporate veteran elements along with Academy players, which Rivera has done an excellent job of bridging with both his youthful exuberance and veteran savvy on the pitch. One does not have to wait long to hear him trying to rally or motivate his teammates in the heat of competition or at half time on the bench, something that the first-year Goat enjoys doing.

“I’ve had the fortune of getting minutes with the Reserves and when you get more minutes, the opportunity to do more things presents itself, be it with a goal or a pass to set up a goal.

“Like every match, either Reserve League or regular season, we have to meet them professionally. We have to take them seriously and look to win. We have done a good job so far in the Reserve League so we need to continue down that same path to keep on building confidence, Rivera concluded.”

Should the Red-and-White need any added motivation or excitement while preparing to battle their rivals, they need not to look any further than Rivera, who even after recording his scores will be the first to urge his teammates to not let up or stop working for the next goal.

Rivals set to battle in Reserve League play

When Chivas USA battle cross-hall rival the LA Galaxy as part of Reserve League play on Monday at the StubHub Center’s Field 6, they will do so looking to remain unbeaten and continue to hold the top spot in the West Division. At 2-0-1, the Reserve Goats have taken advantage of their opportunities in these matches to not only keep the rhythm and condition of play up, but also bring along the squad’s new additions closer to the First Team.

The Galaxy have had more activity in this year’s Reserve season with a record of 2-1-2 and will look to move up from their third-place position and make a run at repeating as West Division champions.

The sides split last season’s two meetings, with the Red-and-White securing a 4-2 win in the first contest. The Galaxy responded with a 1-0 victory. Monday’s match will be the first meeting in this season’s edition and will no doubt have the element of a rivalry match for those players looking to break in with the First Team.

READ: Rivera excited for every opportunity to compete

One Goat in particular can attest to the usefulness of Reserve matches as a spring board to joining the First Team, as Youth Academy product Caleb Calvert made his debut on a Reserve League game against the Seattle Sounders FC and scored a goal with an impressive header in the 2-1 victory. Soon after, the 16-year-old forward became the youngest player ever to sign with Chivas USA.

Likewise, the Red-and-White’s next regular-season match will come on the road at Seattle on Sunday, July 28, which could make Monday’s match the ideal tool to begin the squad’s week of preparation. Nevertheless, once the opening whistle sounds beginning at 11 a.m. (PT), all schedules and records and preparations will be in the rearview mirror, as the Red-and-White and the Galaxy will add yet another 90 minutes of battle to the rivalry’s history.

Catching up with the Black Army

Through a challenging season, Chivas USA have been able to always count on their fan base Black Army 1850 for continuous support, and as their member Angel Mendoza states, “hope is the last thing to die.”

“At the beginning of the season, in the first game, we got trashed. We went three games where we just rocked it. Then after that it was just downhill. [Before Toronto] we hadn’t won since March, so this past game was an improvement

“Our deficiencies have always been scoring goals. We have the lowest in the League and that’s been for two or three season. Improvement wise, this last game was great,” Mendoza told cdchivasusa.com.

What Mendoza is talking about is Chivas USA’s Week 20 match against Toronto FC, game in which the Goats snapped a 14-game winless streak and counted with the club’s newest acquisitions, defender Carlos Bocanegra and forward Erick ‘Cubo’ Torres.

“Bocanegra showed the leadership that he has in the back. Cubo made a difference up front; he was making runs, he was attacking, taking shots and he scored a goal that, with a man down, that’s a strong point,” Mendoza added.

Continuing a community service tradition, the Black Army will host their second annual Backpack Drive on Saturday, August 18 at Intaktics Indoor Soccer in Hawthorne. The drive aims to raise school supplies and backpacks for local low-income kids. And what better time to do it than right before school starts.

“This year, it’s going to be open. Some of the guys from the group run a beer blog so we’ll have a beer-tasting section, people will be able to play soccer and you donate the backpacks for the kids,” Mendoza finalized.

Interested in joining the Black Army? Click here to visit their website or follow them on Twitter: @BlackArmy1850

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