Rongen maintains focus on improving

CARSON, Calif. - Following their third consecutive loss on Sunday, Chivas USA players said there was reason to worry about keeping their jobs. But head coach Thomas Rongen said there is only one person whose job should be in question.

"If there's any reason to speculate about jobs, it's got to be with the head coach and not with the players," Rongen said. "I'm totally comfortable with that because that's the way it goes at this level."

After Sunday's loss to FC Dallas, in which Chivas USA gave up four second-half goals, club co-owner and president Antonio Cue said Rongen's job was safe for the time being. He said Rongen would be on the sidelines for Saturday's Super Clásico match against the Galaxy but could not commit to him further.

Still, if his job is truly in danger, Rongen said it is not in the forefront of his mind.

"You get hired to get fired. That's the way it is," he said. "That's not my focus. My focus is turning this franchise around. That's what I intend to do."

Chivas USA have a league-worst 1-7-1 mark. Worse, the club leads the league in goals allowed, having surrendered 21 goals, six more than Colorado, who have conceded the second-most number of goals.

Rongen has tinkered with the lineup all season in hopes of finding the right combination. Only Hector Cuadros, Ramon Ramirez and Ezra Hendrickson have started every game for the Red-and-White. But Rongen refused to place the blame on the players for the club's slow start, adding that the team has not quit.

"You can't fault the players," Rongen said. "I can't ask for more in terms of the way they fought and the way they stayed resilient after (going down to Dallas) 1-0. A team that doesn't believe would have rolled over and died after giving up such an early goal."

If Rongen's job is truly in danger, it appears he's going down swinging. The club will not stray from its attacking mentality, least of all to save his job, Rongen said.

"I'm not going to sacrifice my beliefs and my philosophy and the club's philosophy and play with eight guys on the defense and hope we can sneak one off a counter. That's not the way this club is going to play now and in the future," Rongen said.

"We continue to adhere to our philosophy and try to attack. We're not going to change our philosophy. We're going to continue to go forward. That means we're going to continue to take some risks and continue to expose ourselves a little bit in the back. We've shown a good brand of football. We're just not getting rewarded for it."

Rongen said he feels comfortable with the amount of work he's put in.

"Every day I look in the mirror and I say 'I think I've done everything I can to put this team in a position to win.' That's all you can do," Rongen said. "Ultimately the powers to be need to judge if that's good enough."

Luis Bueno is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.


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