Rookies bring energy back to Chivas USA midfield

Blair Gavin (MichaelJanoszISI) 

Photo by Michael Janosz/



After the departure of veteran midfielders Jesse Marsch and Paulo Nagumura, Chivas USA was in dire need of a pair of strong midfielders to fortify the club in the middle of the park. 

Enter Ben Zemanski and Blair Gavin (pictured), a  pair of young "Halo"-playing, 21-year-old midfielders from Akron University. Fresh off a very successful career with the Zips, the pair is unburdened by the responsibility of replacing a pair of Chivas USA stalwarts.

"The players from the past were very exceptional, but we're just trying to make our own mark here," said Gavin. "They've done very well and now we're going to do our own thing to help Chivas get wins."

Gavin and Zemanski come to the Red and White side of Los Angeles after an impressive career with Akron. The midfielders lined up beside one another for the Zips for three years. They enjoyed their best year together in 2009 when they served as co-captains during the Zips 23-1-1 season and helped Akron reach the NCAA Final. Drafted by Chivas USA with the 10th and 45th overall picks respectively, the pair have immediately made their mark on the Rojiblancos.

Last Saturday against a red hot San Jose Earthquakes side, the duo that has been christened the "Killer B's" by Chivas USA fans, started together once more in the center of the park. For 90 minutes, the pair displayed the toughness and passing flair that was common place at Akron and were instrumental in leading the Rojiblancos to a 3-2 victory.

In the victory against San Jose, Zemanski earned his very first start for the Rojiblancos. While many rookies struggle in their first taste of MLS action, the former Akron standout was at ease with Gavin lined up beside him.

"It felt comfortable, we've played together for four years now and have been side by side for so long," said Zemanski. "It was just comforting seeing a familiar face across from me and being out on the field together again."

The former Akron standouts will need to continue their successful partnership if Martin Vasquez's club is to survive a grueling seven day road trip with a pair of games on the road at Chicago and New England before returning home to face the Houston Dynamo. Heading into the World Cup break, the results in the next three matches will be vital to determine the mettle of this young club.

"This trip is really going to show our team unity this early in the season, we've got two really tough games and a game at home." said Gavin. "It will really determine just how far along that we've come."


The Rojiblancos made a move to bolster their offense by signing Costa Rican forward Jose Macotelo on Friday. A 24-year old who has played his entire career with Puntarenas FC in Costa Rica trained with the club for the first time on Friday morning.

"Jose is a young and dynamic attacking player who can bring a lot to the club," said Head Coach Martin Vasquez in a press release. "We're excited to have him join the team and look forward to seeing him in action."

Macotelo will be eligible to play in Saturday's match against the Chicago Fire at Toyota Park. 

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18 Responses to Rookies bring energy back to Chivas USA midfield

  1. jessie says:

    Was Macotelo out of contract in the last transfer window? Otherwise, how are they doing that with the window closed already?

  2. get owned jessie says:


  3. Isaac says:

    Interesting story. Future U.S. National team central midfield pairing anybody?

    Another good thing about having two good central stalwarts is that Kljestan can be everywhere in the midfield and attack and help Chivas keep possession. The lineup should look something like this:






    If Chivas is stable and they continue to get 2008 Kljestan like they just did, they’ll be extremely dangerous.

  4. Isaac says:

    Although actually looking at Gavin’s age, he’d be eligible to play for the USA in the Olympics and he has played for the U18 and U20s.

  5. JohnC says:

    I have only watched Chivas play that one game against San Jose but I was really impressed with Lahoud. He was a beast on the side, taking on people with pace consistently. Exciting team to watch.

  6. DS says:

    “a pair of Chivas USA legends”??
    Nagamura is an MLS journeyman, and spent 3 years with Chivas, while Marsch was essentially a “Bradley man” who played most of his MLS career with the Fire and 4 seasons with Chivas, and whose career high point was kicking David Beckham in a kung-fu style attack with the ball nowhere in the vicinity.

    You just can’t use the word “legends” in connection with a team that has played a grand total of five seasons, regardless of how young the league itself is.
    If you must, please save it for someone other than a pair of general purpose thugs whose success was defined by their ability to get in the way of the opposition.

  7. dnsjfjdfc says:

    Well not to you. CUSA fans considered them legends. Nags and Marsch duo are legend in CUSA’s history.

  8. jessie says:

    Loan doesn’t change that the transfer window has to be open.

  9. ELAC says:

    Sure you can, this is the MLS. I’m a legen in my own mind. Who are you? The legend police?

    Seriously, Marsch and Nags were stalwarts for CUSA for the few years they played. As a fan and a STH, they were legends in my book.

    If you have a problem with that, then get over it. LOL!

  10. ELAC (friend of ZeroCool) says:

    They appealed to the MLS before the deadline and successfully proved that they had processed the necessary paperwork BEFORE the dealine.

    We’re not the Galaxy, we actually have to follow the rules and abide by them.

  11. ELAC says:

    I like the 4-2-3-1. I hope we can get some points on this road trip.

    Killer B’s huh? I guess someone reads my posts on Big Soccer.

  12. Second City says:

    Another CONCACAF player joins the league, of which I say: AWESOME!

    No, that’s not sarcasm. I think it’s wonderful for the league to continue to foster more CONCACAF NT-players within the league, of other countries.

    Helps groom talent and create some healthy rivalries and familiarities within the countries (ideally).

  13. MadKingGeorge says:

    “Zing” – how fresh is that?

  14. Jimmy says:

    I wish Adam had mentioned where they went to college.

  15. sread says:

    Apparently at Akron

  16. Dylan says:

    That’s kinda the point of the article so it would make sense that he references it regularly…

  17. Second City says:

    Surprisingly, more current than using the term ” fresh “.