Hamilton: Sacking Vásquez best for Chivas

Goats looking for head coach that can return them to the playoffs


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CARSON,  Calif. -- On Saturday, Chivas USA vice president of soccer operations Stephen Hamilton told ESPN.com that although it had been a rough year for the team, head coach Martín Vásquez wasn’t going anywhere next year.

Four days later, Vásquez was sacked.

"This was a difficult decision for our organization to make," Hamilton told MLSsoccer.com on Wednesday. "We sat down with the team’s soccer committee … and thought through it. Everyone at Chivas USA has a great deal of respect for Martín. Unfortunately, after this difficult season came to a close, we decided to move in a different direction."

Vásquez's short tenure as head coach was a period of flux at the club. Since his hiring last December, 17 players have left the team due to retirement, release, transfer, loan or the expansion draft.

"It was a difficult season to begin with," Hamilton conceded. "We had lost a number of veterans in the offseason, and then losing Sacha Kljestan in the middle of the season and missing Johnny Bornstein for the World Cup was hard.

“But as we think about moving forward, we feel that this is the best decision for the club in terms of turning this thing around and getting back on track."

Vásquez was named head coach of the Red-and-White after serving under Jürgen Klinsmann at Bayern Munich during the 2008-09 season. In his first few games at the helm, Vásquez conducted the team to a respectable 3-3-1 record.

However, a lack of depth and the difficulty in building lasting chemistry among a patchwork group began to take its toll. Chivas entered the World Cup break on a five-game losing streak and would fall quickly to the bottom of the Western Conference.

The one bright spot was the club's run to the last four of the US Open Cup – its first semifinal appearance in any major tournament.

Hamilton told ESPN.com earlier this week that the team intended on keeping their coach, despite a tumultuous year.

"The things we saw in him previously, we still see in him, and I think he’s going to benefit from a year of experience as a head coach," Hamilton said. "This is his first go as a head coach, so I think he’s learned a lot. And talking to him in private, the conversations we’ve had, I feel good about him, the things he wants to do going forward.”

But a season of change at Chivas USA saved its most dramatic turn for last. The club will begin its search for a new coach immediately as it prepares for the Nov. 24 Expansion Draft and the SuperDraft in January.

"Right now, we're open-minded," Hamilton said. "It's too early to say anything for sure, but we want to find somebody with whom we feel the most comfortable to get us back on track. We want to get back into the playoffs and be challenging for the championship."