It took a few weeks, but Chivas got figured out. The Eastern Conference leading DC United out played them for most of the match and shut the door midway through the second half guaranteeing any late game magic for Erick Cubo Torres would be only a moral victory.
A win over DCU would have broken the bandwagon. The joke of the league in 2013, 2012, 2011… due in no small part to the stepchild status owner Jorge Vergara placed on the team. With the exorcism of Vergara from the league on February 20th, three weeks before the start of the season, Chivas is linked to it’s parent club in name only. There is still a feel good element about the players, employees, and the less than eight thousand fans in attendance. The curse has been lifted, everyone that remains deserves better.
Since the start of June they are 4-1-1 allowing only 5 goals (3 against DCU last Saturday). To say Chivas USA’s recent run is fortunate or simply a figment of smoke and mirrors is to underestimate what Wilmer Cabrera has been able to do with limited talent and the uncertainty of playing under league ownership. While the club has made rosters moves, any transfer that requires a fee or spending over the cap is likely not an option.
Cabrera earned his coaching reputation developing youth players as coach of US U17 and U18 teams. As an assistant under Oscar Pareja in Colorado, he deserves credit for getting a core of young players into the playoffs last season.
With Chivas, he has a mix of youth and experience, but few players in that sweet-spot where physical meets mental. Of players with more than 10 appearances, currently on the roster, only Eric Avila and Bobby Burling are over 24 and under 30. Five players are 30 or older and of the 6 under the age of 24 none has more than three years of MLS experience. The 19-year-old Marky Delgado played one match for Chivas USA in 2012.
Of course, the only reason to watch Chivas is to catch a glimpse Cubo. It is not an exciting team for the neutral. Nevertheless, you may have noticed tactical discipline and the use of counterattack that allows the squad to utilize what each player can do. Essentially they defend as a team, covering for Mauro Rosales defensive liability on the right while freeing him to create in space.
As the weeks progress the Goats look more and more like Marco Schällibaum’s Montreal Impact during the first half of 2013, than Frank Yallop’s 2012 San Jose team that grinded out results to the Supporter Shield. Yallop bunkered in and played route one soccer, especially late in matches. Schällibaum with Montreal at their best drew teams in and attacked either over the top to Marco Di Vaio perched on a centerback’s shoulder or attempted to create space with Justin Mapp on the right and an overlapping Hassoun Camara. There is less overlapping at Chivas, rather an off-striker or attacking midfielder would work as a 10 to link with Torres.
Chivas is not a team you can appreciate while multitasking. It is little things that like draw you in, and then BOOM! Cubo comes and conquers. Just like they planned.
This Week’s Throw-In:
- I don’t want to go crazy about the All-Star game selection, just some observations: First only one fullback? Yes, Parkhurst can play rightback, but he is a centerback for club. Second, there is one mistake (can’t think of a better word) in each position, two were fan selections and one a coach’s. Defenders: Omar Gonzalez (not awful, but not deserving) – snubbed Dan Gargan La Galaxy; Midfielder: Tim Cahill (he hasn’t produced as an all-star for club) – snub Pedro Morales Vancouver White Caps; Landon Donovan (do people watch MLS?), snub Dom Dwyer Sporting Kansas City.
- For MLS Fantasy players, all 5 of us active players, easily the worst week of the season…
- Oscar Pareja has gotten FC Dallas back on track with a 5 game unbeaten run. Adding an extra pep to their step, Mauro Diaz is slowly returning as he saw time in their previous two matches. No one is catching Seattle, but they can hang near the top which makes the battle for the last spot in the West interesting.
- I will make this trend on twitter by season end: RBNY #MLSSlumpbusters . Why this week? Everyone’s favor T.J. Miller stand in Steven Lernhart scored his first goal against the Red Bulls on Saturday.