Highs, lows of Chivas USA's 2010 season
Martín Vásquez’s short tenure at Chivas USA may have left much to be desired in terms of overall record, but the 2010 season wasn’t a total loss. Scattered among the shortcomings are a few reasons for the Goats to be proud of their year.
As the search for a head coach continues on the Red-and-White side of the Home Depot Center, MLSsoccer.com takes a quick look back at the Vásquez era and pulls out a few things that went right and some that didn’t.
Right: Braun grows up
Justin Braun played his first three seasons at Chivas USA under Preki, who was famous for his insistence on a stalwart defense. Preki led the Goats to the second-lowest goals-allowed tally in all of MLS on two separate occasions (2007, 2009). As such, Braun was never really given the freedom to focus solely on offense until Vásquez showed up.
Vásquez let Braun roam at the head of the Red-and-White attack and the tactic paid off. The forward struck a career-high nine goals in 2010 and finally blossomed into a truly potent striker.
Wrong: New week, new lineup
With all the changes in personnel, Chivas USA’s locker room may as well have had a revolving door on it during the 2010 season. Vásquez brought in 14 new players during his time at the helm, but struggled to integrate a lot of them into a consistent formation or lineup.
Michael Lahoud played in four different spots over the course of the year. Jonathan Bornstein went from defense to midfield and back to defense. Braun even started on the right wing in one match.
With so much changeover, the team lacked consistency in the lineup and cohesion on the pitch.
Right: The US Open Cup
This season saw Chivas USA reach the semifinal of a major tournament for the first time in club history.
After knocking off the Houston Dynamo with an emphatic 3-1 quarterfinal victory (their first-ever at Robertson Stadium), the Goats booked themselves a date with the Sounders in the semifinals.
They ultimately fell at Seattle, but Vásquez had at least done what no other coach in Red-and-White history had been able to do.
Wrong: Draw four
Maybe it was the distinct absence of veteran leadership, the lack of a resolute on-field mentality, or even plain old bad luck—whatever the reason, Chivas USA just couldn’t quite figure out how to scrape out draws in 2010. The team only tallied four ties this season, which equaled D.C. United for the lowest mark in all of MLS.
Their games last May against Columbus, Salt Lake and DC, for example, should have ended in draws. Instead, the Red-and-White conceded last-minute goals and went down to defeat. That's three points lost right there.
Draws may not be a club's hoped-for result, but draws are a sign that a team that can gut out a result when it probably should be going home empty-handed. It’s those teams that win championships.