In what will probably be the final year of the franchise as we know it, Chivas USA won’t have many expectations after a dismal 2013 that saw them struggle badly.
After finishing ninth in the Western Conference in the last two seasons and doing nothing to improve the team significantly, it’s safe to say that Chivas fans will have a long year ahead of them and they are probably going to suffer through another bottom-of-the-table year as the team doesn’t have enough weapons to make an impact in the upcoming campaign.
Despite having some interesting players up front, Chivas USA has had problems to put the ball in the back of the net the last two years, and this trend could continue in 2014. The team’s main strikers are veteran Adolfo Bautista, who is past his prime, and yougsters Bryan de la Fuente and Erick Torres. These two players could do something on offense, but they aren’t mature or talented enough to make an impact on a consistent basis.
Without a doubt, the midfield is the strongest area of the team. Winger Mauro Rosales has pace and skill to overmatch the best defenders in MLS and the addition of Agustin Pelletieri should only help the team in the center of the pitch. Ecuadorian international Oswaldo Minda and Carlos Alvarez can also make an impact as there’s enough talent and depth to compete with almost any team in the league.
Unfortunately for Chivas, the same can’t be said about their defensive line. While there’s a lot of experience in the backline with players like Carlos Bocanegra and Tony Lochhead, there is a serious lack of pace that could easily hurt them against top sides that have stronger forward lines.
In addition, neither Dan Kennedy nor Tim Melia can provide security between the posts so unless Chivas can tighten things up before the start of the year, the team will be in for a long season on the defensive side of the ball.
Sure, Chivas USA could be slightly better than last year, but the additions could also be insignificant if Bautista and Pelletieri fail to make an impact. Chivas USA should be wise to give minutes to their younger players as the roster is not constructed to make the postseason due to the lack of talent and experience on both sides of the ball. A 7-21-6 record seems quite realistic as the overall quality of the team resembles the 2013 side.