[MLS 2014: Western Conference]
If Chivas USA players were affected by the news that MLS had taken over the club from its
owners, Jorge Vergara
and Angelica Fuentes
, they didn't show it. Two days after the announcement, Chivas USA went out
and beat New England, 3-2, in a match it trailed 2-0 after 20 minutes. It finished the preseason without a defeat in eight games. Not bad for a lame-duck team.
Promising starts are
nothing new. In 2013, Chivas USA started the regular season 3-1-1, then collapsed, going 14 straight games without a win and finally finishing the season with five straight losses. Its 6-20-8 record
was only slightly worse than its 7-18-9 record in 2012.
In January, Wilmer Cabrera
was brought in to take over as head coach, and within a week of
the sale of the team to MLS Nelson Rodriguez
was named club president. The sale does take some pressure off the team for immediate results as MLS seeks new
owners, and Cabrera isn't blinded by the preseason results.
What needs work? "We have to work on everything," Cabrera said
. "We have to fix everything. And you just don't fix everything in a few weeks."
2013 Chivas USA Record:
9th in Western Conf. Playoffs:
did not qualify. WHY BE OPTIMISTIC?
Cabrera and Rodriguez
give the club two men experienced in the ways of MLS, something that was seriously lacking last season. In Erick Torres
, Chivas USA has one of MLS's best young
strikers. Cubo scored seven goals in 15 games after arriving in July, and he should keep that strike rate up thanks to the arrival of Mauro Rosales
Seattle. Rosales gives Chivas USA one of MLS's most dangerous players on set pieces, the perfect set-up man for the likes of Carlos Bocanegra
Cabrera is high on veteran Argentine midfielder Agustin Pelletieri
, as well as Clemson winger Thomas McNamara
, who could
be the surprise of this year's rookie class. WHY BE PESSIMISTIC?
Vergara says Torres will be returning to Guadalajara once his loan deal expires in
June. Oh, well. No one else scored more than three goals for Chivas USA in 2013. Age is not on Chivas USA's side. Six of the projected starters are 30 or older, and the club has little depth to
withstand injuries. The final big-name signing from the Chivas USA era was Adolfo Bautista
, but the former Mexican international, now 34, has seen better days.
The most recent signings, Pelletieri, Englishman Luke Moore
and Spaniard Dani Fragoso
, plus Argentine Leandro Barrera
, whom Chivas USA will likely sign, are untested in MLS. PROJECTED FINISH: 9th place.
Chivas USA was
last in the Western Conference -- 18 points behind FC Dallas -- in 2013. The Goats will be better in 2014 but 18 or more points better? Don't count on it. PROJECTED LINEUP: 4-4-2 Goalkeeper: NO. PLAYER (AGE)/COUNTRY
(31)/USA (7th season)
(26)/USA (2nd season) 3-Carlos Bocanegra
(34)/USA (2nd season) 2-Bobby Burling
(29)/USA (3rd season)
4-Tony Lochhead(32)/New Zealand (Wellington Phoenix)
NO. PLAYER (AGE)/COUNTRY
7-Mauro Rosales (30)/Argentina (Seattle Sounders) 30-Oswaldo
(33)/Ecuador (3rd season)
Agustin Pelletieri (31)/Argentina (Racing Club)
17-Thomas McNamara (23)/USA (Clemson Univ.)
NO. PLAYER (AGE)/COUNTRY
(21)/Mexico (2nd season)
Luke Moore (28)/England (Elazigspor) First off the bench: NO. PLAYER
(AGE)/COUNTRY 20-Carlos Alvarez
(23)/USA (2nd season)
10-Adolfo Bautista (34)/Mexico (Atl. San
Luis) 26-Matthew Fondy
(24)/USA 2nd season)
16-Andrew Jean-Baptiste (21)/USA (Portland Timbers) Chivas
USA: complete roster.
returning players in bold.
*on loan. MARCH SCHEDULE: March 9:
Chicago, 3 pm ET (UniMas) March 16:
Vancouver, 7 pm ET March 22:
at FC Dallas, 8:30 pm ET March 30:
at New York, 3 pm ET (UniMas) Chivas USA: complete schedule