Game Preview: Fighting for minutes
Mustangs players looking to earn more playing time
CHICAGO (Feb. 23, 2017) — With Chicago officially out of playoff contention, it has three more games to work with before the season closes.
The focus in the short term is playing for pride and third-place in the Central Division. The team has a shot at a three-game winning streak, its first since opening the season 3-0 in November.
Ultimately, the goal is to build team chemistry and momentum for next year’s campaign.
The Mustangs have a blend of youth and experience that is sure to contribute next year. The Mustangs (9-8) have shown that they have a first line that is capable of competing with anyone in the league. However, after that, the team needs to figure out its best second line moving forward.
Look for the following players to get a lot of minutes to close the season as coach Armando Gamboa looks for the right pieces heading into next year.
On the front line, forward Osvaldo Rojas has been the most efficient scorer for the Mustangs. The team doesn’t run a lot of two forward formations, in limited minutes in 15 games, he has scored 13 goals and has four assists.
He along with forward Juan “Charal” De La Cruz (five goals) are battling for more minutes up top.
In the midfield, Mario Alvarez seems likely to garner plenty of minutes. The Aurora native is two games back from a broken foot over the summer.
Last year, in his first season with the Mustangs, he played in 18 of 23 games, including all three playoff games. He finished with three goals and four assists. He is working his way back to full fitness and should push for a first line spot when fully healthy.
Midfielder Douglas Dos Santos has seen some time in the first-line. The Brazilian has seven goals this year, three of which came on Jan. 14 against Milwaukee. In that game he was deployed higher up the field. In these games, it will be interesting to see how Dos Santos is used.
Winger Alexis Camarena has shown he can be a key piece for the Mustangs. He has come on strong down the wire with six goals in five games. He has been with the team for five years and should only see his role increase if he can continue his form.
Midfielder Alonso “Negro” Sandoval hasn’t been fully healthy the past couple weeks. The former Club America and Chivas player has shown glimpses of his potential. These next three games could turn his season around.
On defense, the top three performers have been Edwin Rojas, Luis “Peewee” Ortega and Ephraim Beard. Now, Gamboa has to find who can fill out his first two lines.
Defender Carlos Pichardo seems the most likely candidate. These next three games are huge for him. He currently leads the team in blocks with 22.
Chicago vs. Tacoma Chicago vs. Ontario
Time: Fri., Feb. 24, 9:35 p.m. Time: Sun., Feb. 26, 3 p.m.
Venue: ShoWare Center Venue: Sears Centre Arena
Social Media: Play-by-play Twitter @MustangsSoccer & Facebook @ChicagoMustangs
Livestream: MASLtv Youtube
Founded in 2012, the Chicago Mustangs compete in the MASL. The Mustangs were the 2014 Ron Newman Cup Champions and 2014 U.S. Open Minifutbol Champions. For tickets visit chicagomustangspro.com, like them on Facebook facebook.com/ChicagoMustangs and follow them on Twitter @MustangsSoccer.