Carson, CA (Sports Network) - Chivas USA has not had much to celebrate in its
eight-year tenure in Major League Soccer.
The Goats come into the new season riding a three-year playoff absence,
finishing no higher than eighth place in the Western Conference over that
Even in the four times that Chivas has managed to make the postseason, the
club failed to advance beyond the quarterfinals.
But the team's last-place finish in 2012 has given way to a new era in Chivas
lore as Jose Luis Sanchez Sola has replaced Robin Fraser to seize control of
the managerial duties.
Sola's arrival signals a return to the Hispanic movement for Chivas. The club
initially came to MLS with the intention of having a strong link to its parent
entity, Chivas de Guadalajara, and its Mexican heritage.
The manager's intentions were clear when he announced prior to the start of
the 2013 MLS SuperDraft that Chivas would select Carlos Alvarez with the
second overall pick. Not only does Alvarez's Hispanic background fit with the
club's grand plan, but he has strong ties to Chivas as his father played for
the Mexican club.
Chivas also added Eric Avila, Carlos Borja and Steve Purdy, but will they be
enough to replace the big names that left the Goats in the offseason?
Juan Pablo Angel and Alejandro Moreno were not re-signed, putting a great deal
of pressure on young striker Juan Agudelo to stay healthy and produce goals on
a regular basis. It could be a make-or-break season for Agudelo, even as a 20-
Chivas lost a pair of midfield stalwarts in Shalrie Joseph and Nick LaBrocca,
but Sola will be banking on Miller Bolanos and Oswaldo Minda finally coming
good and fulfilling their potential.
It could be a case of addition by subtraction for Chivas this season. Angel,
Moreno, Joseph and LaBrocca carry a lot of clout in terms of name recognition
in MLS, but they were unable to fuse their individual abilities for the good
of the team.
What Sola's squad may lack in quality it is likely to make up for with pace
and aggression, characteristics that his current crop of players possess in
It may be the perfect marriage of coach and roster that gets Chivas out of the
Western Conference cellar, but if Sola is slow out of the gates, there may be
some familiar headlines coming out of The Home Depot Center this season.
2012 IN REVIEW: League play left a lot to be desired from Chivas as the club
finished bottom of the West and second from bottom overall with 30 points from
34 games. The team did fare well in the U.S. Open Cup, reaching the semifinals
before being ousted by Seattle Sounders FC. The Goats also managed to rattle
off some impressive wins against Real Salt Lake and the Los Angeles Galaxy,
but that did little to overshadow an otherwise dismal campaign.
ACQUISITIONS: Carlos Alvarez (M), Eric Avila (M), Carlos Borja (D), Steve
LOSSES: Juan Pablo Angel (F), Danny Califf (D), Shalrie Joseph (M), Nick
LaBrocca (M), Alejandro Moreno (F).
OUTLOOK: The bright spot for Chivas is that it cannot get much worse. The bad
news is that last season's playoff teams out of the Western Conference have
experienced very little turnover while those that fell just short have
retooled their squads. Chivas appears to have made much smaller strides, but
they could be the ones this time. A playoff appearance this season would be
massive for Chivas, a club in transition. Anything more would be icing on the
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