Chivas USA still tinkering with formation

Vásquez still hasn't settled on ideal lineup heading to Houston

In nearly every game of the 2009 season, Chivas USA played
in a 4-4-2 formation. Four defenders, four midfielders and two strikers seemed
to be then head coach Preki’s cup of tea.

This year, however, discerning the Red-and-White’s go-to
formation has been difficult, primarily because the team has yet to decide on one.

Chivas USA have experimented with a number of different
lineups in both practices and games so far in 2010, and the team will likely
continue tinkering with its formation over the course of the next few weeks.

“We have to look at our best XI,” said current head coach
Martín Vásquez. “If it’s playing with five defenders, four midfielders and one
forward, we’ll do that. If we play with five midfielders, four defenders and
one forward, then we’ll do that, and try to get numbers forward in the box. The
main thing is that you are looking for the best XI to get a good result."

While nailing down a solid formation may be a big step in
the right direction for many teams, Chivas USA are happy to be versatile in their
approach to on-field lineups.

“It’s good that we know how to play in a 4-5-1, a 4-4-2, a
4-2-3-1 or whatever else we may be asked,” said Jonathan Bornstein. “With
soccer, it’s constantly changing. The game might ask for something else. So
it’s good to work on our formations so that if the game calls on it, you’re
able to switch on the fly.”

Bornstein has been an important part of Chivas USA’s shifting
formations so far in 2010. The Red-and-White co-captain has already spent
minutes at center back and left back, and was most recently at left midfield for
the game against New York.

“They moved me up for the 4-4-2 formation, and my role was
to attack and create,” said Bornstein. “Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to do it
for very long, but I thought that at least I set the right tone for the other
players and continue to do that a lot more.”

Bornstein’s time in the midfield was cut short by a knee
injury to left back Ante Jazic in the 39th minute. Jazic’s injury, combined with
the arrival of natural center back Darío Delgado, will likely push Bornstein
back into the left-back position for a while, a move about which he is excited.

“It will be good to get back at left back,” he said. “That’s
where I’ve been playing with the national team and it will be good to get back
at that position and hone those skills.”

As Chivas USA prepare to face Houston on Saturday, the
team’s formation is still shrouded in mystery.

“We have to look at the best thing that we can put out on
the field against Houston,” said Vásquez. “Playing away is different than
playing at home. You have to consider what kind of key players they have, what
kind of formation they use, and how they compete.”

No matter how the Red-and-White line up against the Dynamo,
one thing is certain: the Goats will be ready to fight on Saturday.

“You have to go in there expecting it to be a rough game,”
said Bornstein of the match. “They’re one of those teams that, when they play
at home, they’re physical. They’ve always been pretty good at home over the
number of years that I’ve been in the league.”