Join Now  | 
Home About Contact Us Privacy & Security Advertise
Soccer America Daily Soccer World Daily Special Edition Around The Net Soccer Business Insider College Soccer Reporter Youth Soccer Reporter Soccer on TV Soccer America Classifieds Game Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalk Soccer America Confidential Youth Soccer Insider World Cup Watch
RSS Feeds Archives Manage Subscriptions Subscribe
Order Current Issue Subscribe Manage My Subscription Renew My Subscription Gift Subscription
My Account Join Now
Tournament Calendar Camps & Academies Soccer Glossary Classifieds
Chivas USA charts a new course, again
by Ridge Mahoney, October 29th, 2010 12:22AM
Subscribe to Soccer America Daily

MOST READ
TAGS:  chivas usa, mls

MOST COMMENTED

[MLS]So where does Chivas USA go from here? The MLS team searching for an identity is in crisis once again, having dismissed Coach Martin Vasquez earlier this week after his first season in charge ended with a last-place finish in the Western Conference and a record of 8-18-4.

Last Saturday, vice president of soccer operations Stephen Hamilton told ESPN.com that Vasquez wouldn’t be leaving. Meetings of club executives in the ensuing days altered those travel plans and on Wednesday came notice he’d been dismissed. Only Hamilton has spoken on the record about Vasquez’s dismissal.

“This was a difficult decision for our organization to make,” Hamilton told MLSsoccer.com. “We sat down with the team’s soccer committee … and thought through it. Everyone at Chivas USA has a great deal of respect for Martin. Unfortunately, after this difficult season came to a close, we decided to move in a different direction."

Its 28 points in the standings topped only the feeble efforts of D.C. United (6-20-4, 22 points), and fell far short of the 46 points registered by San Jose and Colorado, which filled the bottom two playoff spots. Under Vasquez, the defense deteriorated: it conceded 45 goals, an increase of 14 from 2009.

Vasquez’s predecessor Prekihad issues with some of his players, but he did guide Chivas USA to three straight playoff appearances.

The players brought in by Vasquez didn’t make significant impacts either because of injury or mediocre performances: midfielder Rodolfo Espinoza(one goal and three assists in 15 games), striker Giancarlo Maldonado (two goals, one assist in 10 games), midfielderOsael Romero (one goal in nine games), etc. Since the hiring of Vasquez last December, 17 players departed; they retired, were released, transferred, loaned, or selected in the expansion draft.

Rookie midfielders Ben Zemanski and Blair Gavin played several strong games in midfield early in the season as the team started out at 3-3-1, but they struggled for playing time as the season unraveled. Defenders Michael Umana and Dario Delgado didn’t provide the upgrade of quality the team needed, and once Sasha Kljestan had departed for Anderlecht, only occasionally did Chivas USA sparkle in the attacking third. And Kljestan, passed over by U.S. coach Bob Bradley for the World Cup, contributed just one goal and three assists in 10 games. Nobody on the team registered more than three assists.

Team management and the new head coach will also have to replace Jonathan Bornstein, a constant presence on the left side for the past four seasons. His departure to Mexican club UNAL Tigres leaves a huge hole on the field and also in the team’s image, as his popularity with fans had been instituted since he earned a spot in the starting lineup. But that’s just one section of the Chivas USA institution that needs extensive renovation.

Vasquez follows in the footsteps of Hans Westerhof, Thomas Rongen, Bob Bradley, and Preki: five coaches in six seasons. The sixth will have some pieces to work with; forward Justin Braun scored nine goals, and wingerJesus Padilla – though plagued by inconsistency – netted six. Right back Mariano Trujillo led the team in minutes played with 2,517 and started in all 28 of his appearances.

Last week, Hamilton had said, “The things we saw in him previously, we still see in him, and I think he’s going to benefit from a year of experience as a head coach. This is his first go as a head coach, so I think he’s learned a lot. And talking to him in private, the conversations we’ve had, I feel good about him, the things he wants to do going forward.”

By Wednesday, the search was on. Reports of former MetroStar and Galaxy coach Octavio Zambrano attending late-season games at HDC had prompted rumors of a change and the occasional presence of Juergen Klinsmann will set off a few sparks. A few fans are already buzzing the Internet with calls for former Chivas USA midfielder Jesse Marsch, who retired from playing last year to join the U.S. national team as an assistant coach.

“Right now, we're open-minded,” Hamilton said. “It's too early to say anything for sure, but we want to find somebody with whom we feel the most comfortable to get us back on track. We want to get back into the playoffs and be challenging for the championship.”



2 comments
  1. David Huff
    commented on: October 29, 2010 at 1:04 p.m.
    They should consider re-hiring Preki (who is now available) or having Klinsmann would be an incredible achievement. They also need to bring in quality players to replace what they have lost, they consider 1-2 DPs as well unless Mr. Cue and Mr. Vergara are comfortable with the team being perpetually in the shadow of the coporate milquetoast Galaxy
  1. David Huff
    commented on: October 29, 2010 at 6:21 p.m.
    Ric, I agree with 90+% of what you have to say on this, except to the extent that Sampson may not be a good fit but my perception of him is colored by what happened in WC 1998 when he allowed the team to unravel, rightly or wrong he is viewed as responsible since he was the top guy in charge at the time for USMNT. I don't know much about Ralph Perez so I can't comment, I think Bora would be great given his knack for picking up mediocre teams and helping turn them into something positive. It would be ironic if Klinsmann came aboard to coach the same club that Bradley previously coached but then made them into something special in terms of record, playoffs (i.e. something that Banal Bob couldn't do).

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Daily
What They're Saying: Sunil Gulati    
"Our base-line [for average attendance] was 30,000; 35,000 would've been great, and 40,000 beyond our wildest ...
What They're Saying: Investment banker Keith Harris    
"It was a shock result. There are four players that we can reflect on and the ...
What They're Saying: Megan Rapinoe    
"Gay bars are so important for me and my community. That could have been me. That ...
What They're Saying: Gudmundur Benediktsson    
"It's been quite strange and actually hectic because the phone hasn't stopped ringing. But I'm really ...
MLS: Top fives in Fan XI voting remain steady    
The MLS All-Star Game will be played July 28 in San Jose and every few days ...
MLS Countdown: Rivals wrap up season series early    
The MLS campaign has yet to reach its midpoint yet already teams are facing each other ...
USA-Colombia: Lots at stake in third-place game    
The USA must quickly get back in the saddle after its disastrous semifinal against Argentina when ...
U.S. women: Crunch time to get down to 18    
U.S. women's national team coach Jill Ellis has recalled injured stars Carli Lloyd and Megan Rapinoe, ...
Video Pick: 90 seconds of Messi Magic    
The folks at Fox Soccer created a 90-second montage of Lionel Messi's best touches in Argentina's ...
NASL: Kranjcar leaves Cosmos for Rangers    
Croatian midfielder Niko Kranjcar, who played seven NASL spring season games after joining the New York ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives