Chivas USA can count on Cuadros
Not all has gone according to plan with the eight players Club Deportivo Chivas USA brought from Mexico and the parent club in Guadalajara at the start of preseason. Some left the club, others got hurt and still others have had a hard time adjusting to Major League Soccer.
With all the negatives, though, there has been one constant. Hector Cuadros is living up to his pre-MLS billing.
"I knew what we'd get from Hector -- tremendous hard work and a guy that has the potential to score some goals," Chivas USA head coach Thomas Rongen said.
Cuadros has been one of the club's mainstays throughout his stay with Chivas USA. He logged numerous minutes during preseason friendlies, filling the role of chief playmaker. His determined efforts are spilling over to the regular season as Cuadros has become one of the club's biggest offensive threats.
Against San Jose, Cuadros showed some of the scoring flair that earned him a shot in MLS. Cuadros headed in a cross from Ezra Hendrickson in the second half of the 3-3 draw against the Earthquakes over the weekend.
But Cuadros is quick to point out that he doesn't necessarily deserve any more or any less credit than his Chivas USA teammates.
"The team doesn't rely on any one player," he said. "We have an outstanding group of players. We are all equally as important so that if any one of us steps on the field, that player will give his best and will produce."
Still, Cuadros' position is key to Chivas USA's attacking philosophy. Through him, Chivas USA looks for plays and passes, creativity and assists. Playing behind the club's three-man front line, Cuadros' spot is essential in helping get the ball to the right players at the right time. His development in that area is not yet complete.
"We'd like him to (make plays) a little bit better out of that position," Rongen said. "He gets himself in the box. The goal (against San Jose) was a great indication, obviously. He's a tireless worker that gives us a lot on both sides of the ball."
In fact, Cuadros is a versatile player who could step in the defensive midfield as well as out wide. The play of Cuadros caught the attention of Chivas USA's parent club, Chivas de Guadalajara. The Mexican club utilized Cuadros' versatility during an Interliga game against Tigres UANL earlier this year, a match that helped Chivas gain a spot in Copa Libertadores.
Cuadros said he is committed to Chivas USA. He is currently in the first year of a two-year contract with an option for another two years. Guadalajara might be in his future, but Cuadros said he doesn't want to get ahead of himself.
"I am focused on having a good season both personally and as part of this team," Cuadros said. "Little by little, opportunities will present themselves."
Luis Bueno is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.