2010 in Review: Chivas USA offseason checklist
CARSON, Calif. – From naming a new head coach to rebuilding the roster, there’s plenty of work to be done at the Home Depot Center this offseason for Chivas USA. Here’s MLSsoccer.com’s to-do list.
Name a head coach
The Goats are still in the process of finding a new head coach after the firing of Martín Vásquez at the end of October. A Spanish-speaker would be best, although anyone who can pull the Red-and-White out of the Western Conference basement will be greatly appreciated in Carson.
Sign a massive center back
Chivas USA need a monster on the back line. Jonathan Bornstein’s absence to World Cup duty in the summer and the relatively diminutive size of 2010 regulars Ante Jazic, Mariano Trujillo and Michael Umana led to a number of defensive troubles for the Goats. The team needs a big, physical player in the back to help anchor the squad – somebody like Jamison Olave, perhaps. Or Iron Man.
Continue the learning process
The Chivas USA Youth Academy seems to be one of the better programs in the league. Goats youth-teamers consistently feature in the United States U-20 team, and a handful (Jorge Flores, Cesar Zamora, Gerson Mayen) have even moved up to the first team. The latest addition is Bryan de la Fuente, who shows great promise for an 18-year-old. The organization needs to continue building its academy so that the pipeline of potential first-team talent grows richer.
Name a president
The surprise departure of Chivas USA president and CEO Shawn Hunter has left the Goats without a behind-the-scenes leader. As the Red-and-White continue to build their brand and move out from under the shadow of the Galaxy, quickly filling this position with the right person is of vital importance for the organization.
Sign new attackers
Chivas USA scored just 31 goals in 2010, the lowest mark in the Western Conference and the second-lowest in all of MLS. The team must invest in at least one player who can put the ball into the back of the net on a regular basis. Justin Braun can’t do it all by himself.
Give more responsibility to the Three Musketeers
In Sal Zizzo, Ben Zemanski and Blair Gavin, Chivas USA have nabbed a trio of talented midfielders with a load of potential between them. All three are 23 years old or younger, and a strong offseason training regiment and increased focus could see them quickly develop into a powerhouse triangle for the Goats.
Build mental toughness
Some of Chivas USA’s struggles in 2010 can be attributed to a lack of real mental toughness. The team often failed to respond when backed up against a wall, folding instead of rising to the challenge. This habit has to change if the Red-and-White are going to get back in the mix in 2011.
Ready to Launch: MLS Matchday 2010, The official MLS iPhone app. It's FREE! Download it here!