Chivas USA has returned to training at the StubHub Center following a successful preseason run as the team continues working players into the fold--such as Argentine forward Leandro Barrera who joined the this week on loan--as they prepare to play the Chicago Fire on Sunday.
Players were pleased by the camp run by first year head coach Wilmer Cabrera.
"He's ambitious," said goalkeeper Dan Kennedy. "He came to MLS to make his mark."
Carlos Bocanegra agreed, praising Cabrera and First Assistant Coach Paul Caffrey. "They're vocal, they explain things, they demand stuff out of us and they don't settle for anything less. Which is very good because I think last year, something I noticed we weren't always held to the same standard ... and it showed in the games."
"[They] made a point in preseason this year it will help us a lot if we can manage to not throw away points," Bocanegra explained. "Usually a goal doesn't happen on one breakdown. Usually there's a chain of events sometimes, four or five events."
Kennedy expressed that the new era for this team serves as extra motivation for the team. "Our long term future has changed here and we are all fighting to be part of that."
Bocanegra believes that the players on the 2013 squad stuck together as a team when things got really rough at the end of last season and this year's team is better for it.
"People are competing for spots but in a good, positive way ... You're trying to win your spot and if not then you're cheering the other guy on and when it's your chance, you do your job."
Asked if he's to be Team Captain in 2014, Kennedy said, "We'll see." "It's an armband. We have a lot of leaders in there."
Like Kennedy, Bocanegra concurred , "It doesn't matter. We have a lot guys. Dan has done a good job with the group. There's been some ups and downs and a lot of turmoil and he's done a great job."
Bocanegra claims the team's goal is to reach the playoffs but that must be tempered with a one-game-at-a-time mentality. "We want to get to the playoffs. That would be a huge success. First of all we want to get some wins under our belt and start well and the playoffs are the goal at the end."
"This year's team is more set up for a long season in MLS," agreed Kennedy, "but the most important thing for us to focus on in Chicago."