Chivas USA have the greenest roster in MLS - is this why they're struggling so much?
Chivas USA have lost seven straight games, and have moved into frightening company alongside some of the worst teams in the history of Major League Soccer.
Seven straight losses puts them in a tie for the third-longest losing streak in league history, matching five other teams who've managed to lose that many in a row. There's some reflief in the fact that they have a ways to go to reach the longest skid in MLS history – the 1999 MetroStars lost 12 straight – but the way things look right now for the embattled club, does anyone think that dubious mark is out of reach?
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Chivas haven't won a match since March 30, when they defeated Vancouver 2-1. It's hard to believe, but after that victory the Rojiblancos were 3-1-1, and doing what they could to prove their many doubters wrong.
What's followed has been hard to watch. Chivas have but one point in their last 10 matches. They have been shut out in seven of those games. What's more, they have basically dumped every experienced MLS player with the exception of Dan Kennedy, who is left to stand alone behind a cast of players trying to learn the league on the fly.
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If you've followed MLS for any time at all you know there is value in experience, not just on the very competitive field, but also as it pertains to MLS-centric issues such as travel and weather. If there has been a blueprint for success in the league in the last five to 10 years, it has been to make sure you have a degree of experience within the ranks, especially with role players. Teams that have tried to load up on outsiders have usually failed. And even those teams with marquee newcomers have needed seasoned MLS hands around to balance things.
Yet Chivas USA have made an organizational decision to move out virtually all of its veteran MLS players, leaving them with perhaps the greenest squad – as far as MLS experience – in league history.
How inexperienced is this squad? Check out the table at right.
The Elias Sports Bureau, the official statistician of MLS, tells us that Chivas USA have only 11 players who have played in more than 20 MLS games.
Two of the team's other experienced players – Gabriel Farfan (56) and Miller Bolaños (29) – have also been linked to potential moves, leaving the conclusion that if Chivas USA do indeed somehow dig themselves out of this hole, it appears they'll do it with more and more players learning MLS as they go.