Vásquez Looks Towards Opener
While Chivas USA’s season opener Friday night vs. Colorado will be Martín Vásquez’ first chance to show his abilities as the new Red-and-White head coach, he brings years of playing, coaching and what has already been a successful preseason with Chivas USA to the table.
Part of the experience that Vásquez brings to his new position is what he learned as an assistant coach under Jurgen Klinsman for Bayern Munich. He has adopted many of the basic tenets of coaching from his time in Germany, saying, “from recovery to regeneration to volume, tactics, we have been able to, having this long of a pre-season, implement a lot of those concepts.”
Volume of work is a key point for Vásquezheading into this season as he attempts to determine the correct amount of training to ensure that his young players do not burn out mid-season. “We are trying to be prepared,” he said, “But not peaking from the start of the season. We’ll try to use the season as a preparation to peak at a time later on.” He also emphasized that the team needs to take advantage of the natural abilities of each player during set plays, an area in which Chivas USA struggled last season.
This is not to say that Vásquez will be debuting a radically different team than that which played under Preki or even Bob Bradley in the team’s nascence. “Bob came in and we were a very balanced and Preki continued to be consistent in results and balance. That is something that we want to continue because we have been successful in the past but maybe be a little bit more direct, more dynamic and work more.” The changes he does plan to make include playing more time in the attacking zone in an attempt to create more scoring chances and eventually convert on those opportunities.
Part of those potential conversions is newly signed El Salvadorian midfielder Osael Romero, whom Vásquez believes will be a clutch contributor to the team. “(Romero) is a very smart soccer player,” Vasquez said. “He is a very good soccer player. He has a soccer brain. He sees things that some of our players don’t see.” Romero will be good from the beginning and surprise everyone said Vasquez, “but that is a given.”
Formations are another aspect of the game that Vasquez has been looking at ways to change. “We played a 4-4-2 diamond, we played a 4-4-2 flat and we played a 4-3-3” said Vásquez, noting that he prefers a 4-3-3 set up “because of the players that we have; they are dynamic, fast and they understand.” Despite tinkering with the field positions, Vásquez is insistent that they do not lose sight of fundamental soccer strategies. “The principals of attacking and the principals on defending don’t change. We have made it very clear to them that whatever system we play we have to make sure that we stay loyal to those principals.”
As far as having success in the regular season with this new philosophy and a handful of new players, fans will have to wait until next Friday when the team hits the pitch. Vásquez will be ready in either case, content with the team he has seen in training camp. “We believe in them, we trust them.”
The 2010 season kicks off Friday, March 26 at 7:30 p.m with a home game featuring Chivas USA vs. . Tickets for opening night can be found here or by calling 1-877-CHIVAS-1.