Chivas USA favourite Eskandarian upbeat for 2009

2004 MLS Cup MVP Alecko Eskandarian was sidelined for much of 2008 by sports hernia surgeries, making only 11 appearances in his first full season for Chivas USA.

2004 MLS Cup MVP Alecko Eskandarian was sidelined for much of 2008 by sports hernia surgeries, making only 11 appearances in his first full season for Chivas USA.

"I feel great," said Eskandarian after his latest practice session. "It's a night and day difference from last season. I was always playing catch-up last season, trying to regain my fitness level. But I did a lot of work in the off-season and I think it's playing off."

The change in 2009 is already being noticed, as Eskandarian was invited to Monday's United States National Team practice, also at The Home Depot Center, as a guest player to make up numbers in the camp.

Chivas USA will be glad to have the striker back at full capacity. With Ante Razov sidelined for 8-12 weeks with ankle surgery to remove bone spurs, Eskandarian will most likely feature prominently in Head Coach Preki's offensive strategy.

It's a job the striker is keen to accept: "Making dangerous runs up top, working hard defensively, and helping to retain possession: those are the things that I bring to the team when I'm out there. And it's no secret that I love to put the ball in the net."

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