While Chivas USA earned itself a reputation last year for stingy defense, allowing the second-fewest number of goals in the league, the team struggled at the other end of the field. The Red-and-White scored just 34 goals in 2009, the lowest mark in the Western Conference.
The arrival of new Chivas USA head coach Martín Vásquez could however signal a sea change. Vásquez sees improving the Red-and-White offense as one of his primary objectives, and has already begun to retool the attack in the opening weeks of preseason.
"One of the things that we need to work on this year is our play in the attacking half," said Vásquez. "I see a team that understands the defensive side very well, but we want to be a good, balanced team. We have guys that are very offensively strong; we have to understand our strengths and use them for the benefit of our team."
Chivas USA's attacking corps is lead by returning players Maykel Galindo and Justin Braun. The two combined for seven goals and four assists last year, and, with the departure of Eduardo Lillingston to Tijuana, will be likely to play a large role in the Red-and-White's attack this year.
"[The attackers] are doing well," said Galindo of recent training camps. "One of the most important things for us is mobility on the ball. That's what gives us the space to move forward and create. We're working hard and I think we're making improvements."
Vásquez has given the Chivas USA strikers a bit more freedom in the offensive third, a tactic which has already begun to pay off. The Red-and-White have scored 11 goals in three preseason scrimmages.
Martín wants to be pushing forward," said Braun. "He wants to take those. As a player, it gives you that confidence to take people on a little more and do some things on your own."
Braun and Galindo are joined on the front line by fellow returning player Maicon Santos, as well as a host of trialists.
"We have a lot of potential there," said Braun. "We have a lot of guys fighting for minutes and I think that's going to help all of us improve our level of play. I think if we can stay healthy, we're going to have a different season."
One of the new players making waves in the attack is Artur Aghasyan. The former Ventura County Fusion striker has already scored four preseason goals, netting in each of Chivas USA's first three scrimmages.
"Everything is going well," said Aghasyan. "I'm getting more confident. I'm happy for that and I'm going to try and score more goals."
Another source of offensive spark has been the left-sided play of Jonathan Bornstein and Jorge Flores. With Bornstein at left back and Flores on the left of midfield, the two players, who each have both offensive and defensive experience, are able to effortlessly overlap each other on attacks.
"[Flores] played left back last year and the year before so I think he knows when to transition," said Bornstein. "We have to keep that balance on the field and I think we did a pretty good job of that. It helps when you have two guys that can play both ways. We're going to keep working on that and hopefully keep getting better at it."
Chivas USA will travel to Guadalajara on Thursday for more preseason training, and the team will be looking to continue its offensive improvement when it takes on Mexican side Irapuato FC in a preseason scrimmage on Saturday.