Chivas USA to switch gears after Thomas McNamara injury, eyeing Marco Delgado in his place

CARSON, Calif. – Chivas USA were dealt a major blow with the injury to rookie midfielder Thomas McNamara last week, but they don’t have the time for self-pity as another important test awaits them.

McNamara underwent an MRI test on his right knee and team trainers were awaiting the results Tuesday as they prepared for Saturday’s home matchup against Seattle Sounders FC (10:30 pm ET; MLS Live). It is suspected that McNamara tore his anterior cruciate ligament, assistant coach Paul Caffrey told MLSsoccer.com, but nothing has been confirmed.

In the meantime, the Rojiblancos have a void to fill in their midfield.

“It’s next man up,” Caffrey said. “It’s definitely unfortunate for Thomas and for the club. But anytime it happens to any player, it becomes an opportunity for somebody else to stake a claim for the starting spot. That’s essentially what it’s about.”

McNamara started all six games, scoring in his debut against the Chicago Fire and proving to be a key component in Chivas USA’s attack. He ranked third on the team in shot attempts.

“It’s an unfortunate part of the game; you don’t like to see it happen to an opponent or anybody,” Caffrey said. “It’s one of your own, so it hurts a little bit more. Essentially, it’s one of your family members going down. We wish Tommy the best and a speedy recovery. We’ll give him everything he needs in this tough moment.”

Marco Delgado replaced McNamara after he went down clutching his knee in the 63rd minute during Saturday's 1-1 draw against the Portland Timbers. If the coaching staff decides to stay with the 4-2-3-1 formation that was fairly effective against Portland, Delgado would appear to be a potential option in front of holding midfielder Agustín Pelletieri.

“I thought that was Marky’s best performance for us this year,” Caffrey said. “He’s made a good claim for the spot. From a coaching staff standpoint, based on his performance, we would be comfortable if Marky had to be in there.”

Delgado, 18, has made three appearances this season and has 13 career starts to his name.

Veteran midfielder Oswaldo Minda (Achilles), who has missed the previous three matches, trained in full Tuesday and would appear to be available, adding another potential option to the stable. Caffrey said they could insert Minda or Delgado into the lineup. Chivas USA might be hurting without the promising McNamara available, but they have options.

“I feel like they have a lot of belief in me,” Delgado told MLSsoccer.com. “Every time I go in, they want that hunger out of me to go out there and fight like I’m fighting for a starting spot. It’s always good to have depth on the team so [production] doesn’t go down. They have complete confidence in me.”