Lack of set piece goals from Chivas USA set to change with acquisition of Mauro Rosales

On Wednesday, Chivas USA made their first big move of the offseason, trading for the Seattle Sounders midfielder Mauro Rosales. Rosales comes to LA after scoring 12 goals and assisting on 34 others over the course of the last three ML S seasons.

He brings a lot of things to the table. Specifically, though, he's got a skill set that has not been seen at Chivas USA recently: the ability to create from set pieces.

Since 2011, Chivas USA have created 116 chances from restarts, the second-lowest total in MLS over the course of the last three seasons (Montreal were not included since they did not play in 2011). Rosales, by himself, has created 82 chances from set plays over the last three seasons. This figure places him in fourth among all players in MLS over that span behind Graham Zusi, Javier Morales, and Brad Davis.

This year was an especially bad one for Chivas USA in terms of scoring from set pieces as they managed to only score one goal off of a corner, free kick, or a throw-in situation. That was the lowest in the league, with D.C. United scoring the second-lowest total from those situations with three. Rosales by himself assisted five goals directly from set-piece situations.

Of course, it does help when you can have Eddie Johnson rise up above the defense and finish those chances, but those balls have to be put in the right places for him to do that. The Goats are, presumably, still working on that part of the equation.

When looking at all chances created from set pieces, not just goals, it is clear how big of an upgrade Rosales can be for Chivas in the midfield. Rosales created 33 chances from set pieces in MLS this season, good for fifth among all players, while Chivas USA created just 37 as a team.

PLAYER CHANCES CREATED FROM SET PLAYS IN 2013
Zusi 52
Higuaín 45
Salinas 39
B. Davis 35
Rosales 33

When he arrives, Chivas USA’s new coach (still pending!) will have a veteran who is confident standing over a dead ball and serving it into the box accurately. This should lead to more goals for Chivas and -- hopefully for their long-suffering fans -- some better results.