[MLS 2014 COUNTDOWN] One supposes Chivas owner Jorge Vergara doesn't take the holidays off. Last Christmas Eve, he hired Dutchman Dennis te Kloese as the Guadalajara institution's sporting president. Two days before Christmas this year, te Kloese was fired.
His departure following that of Chivas USA sporting director Francisco Palenciaand Chivas USA head coach Jose Luis Real, who returned to Mexico to take similar posts at Chivas de Guadalajara, gutted the technical staff of the MLS club, last in the Western Conference for the second year in a row.
Te Kloese had previously worked with Tigres and the Mexican national team program, working closely with the recruitment of Mexican-Americans so he was very familiar with the U.S. soccer market and its talent pool. His departure comes at the end of a horrible year for the two Chivas clubs.
Chivas de Guadalajara finished tied for 15th in the 18-team Liga MX in both the 2013 Torneo Clausura and Torneo Apertura. It won five games in the Clausura and just two in the Apertura when it finished one point out of the basement.
For the second year in a row, Chivas USA finished last in the Western Conference with the second worst record in MLS. After starting out 3-1-1 in 2013, Chivas USA collapsed, going 14 games without a win. Things improved slightly following Real's arrival in midseason and that of former U.S. national team captain Carlos Bocanegra and young Mexican Erick Torres, but Chivas endured a last-season collapse with a five-game losing streak and six-game winless streak -- better than in 2012 when it went its final 14 games without a win.
It's been four weeks since Real was transferred back to Chivas de Guadalajara, and there is still no word on a replacement. Chivas USA has made several moves in recent weeks, though, since the departures of Palencia and Real. It traded for Seattle midfielder Mauro Rosales, giving up the No. 2 allocation pick, and acquired Portland defender Andrew Jean-Baptiste for the No. 2 pick in the Re-Entry Draft.
Last season Chivas traded its first pick -- No. 2 overall -- in the 2014 SuperDraft for Philadelphia midfielder Michael Farfan. It has the No. 20, 40 and 59 picks in the draft that has been expanded to four picks.
The Chivas USA homepage currently lists two assistant coaches, a goalkeeping coach and strength & conditioning coach, plus two administrators, a masseur and team administrator, on the technical staff.
CRUZ AZUL DEALS CONFIRMED.The Philadelphia Union and San Jose Earthquakes confirmed the transfers of midfielders Michael Farfan and Rafael Baca to Mexico’s Cruz Azul, while the LA Galaxy confirmed that it loaned 20-year-old Jose Villarreal to the Mexico City club until Dec. 31, 2014, with an option for Cruz Azul to buy him.
FC DALLAS OFF TO UAE.FC Dallas will be the first MLS team to travel to the United Arab Emirates when it heads to Abu Dhabi Jan. 30-Feb. 12 on the first segment of its 2014 preseason. The trip was facilitated by the United Arab Emirates Embassy in Washington, and Al Jazira Sports and Culture Club will host the club. FC Dallas, which in recent years has spent part of preseason in Cancun, Mexico, is planning at least three friendly games during the trip, along with a special night for the American business community living and working in the UAE. The team will also make several community appearances.
RSL SETS PRESEASON PLANS.Real Salt Lake's preseason schedule will include two training camps in Arizona and one in California. It will begin Jan. 25-Feb. 1 at Grande Sports World -- the home of the RSL AZ residency academy -- just outside of Casa Grande, Ariz., and be followed by camps Feb. 4-13 at UC Irvine and conclude with a two-week stint beginning Feb. 17 in Tucson for the FC Tucson Desert Diamond Cup.
-- More preseason: The LA Galaxy will face reigning Armenian Premier League champion FC Shirak in a preseason game at StubHub Center Feb. 8. Teams from Armenia have frequently traveled to Los Angeles, which has a large Armenian community, but this will be the first time the Galaxy has played an Armenian team.