CARSON, Calif. – Chivas USA were halfway to yet another loss Saturday night, done in again by a pair of defensive miscues, when director of soccer Paco Palencia made his first public remarks since the firing of José Luis “El Chelís” Sánchez Solá.
Palencia’s comments didn’t necessarily match that of Chelís, who on a number of occasions claimed the Goats lacked the necessary tools to be competitive in MLS.
The team’s struggles were on full display in the 2-0 loss to the Seattle Sounders on Saturday, but Palencia stood by the organization’s belief that there is enough talent here for them to thrive.
“For me and for the rest of the Chivas staff, the directors and everyone, we think we have enough talent here,” Palencia told reporters in the Home Depot Center press box. “The players have the skills to be competitive and be high in the league standings. We have good talent, we just have to work at it and have better effort.”
After losing six of seven matches, Chelís was fired earlier in the week – a move the club described as a “mutual agreement.” Palencia said the team’s poor play over the last two months was the primary reason for Chelís’ early departure.
“One point in seven matches,” Palencia said. “This team wants to be competitive and wants to be in the higher part of the standings. With the bad results, we decided to make a change.”
Former CD Guadalajara head coach José Luis “El Güero” Real will have the reins for the remainder of the season, Palencia said. Real traveled to the United States from Guadalajara this past preseason to scout players in hopes of building the roster for Chelís. Palencia sounded confident about Real’s upcoming task given the fact that the Mexican coach has some familiarity with the players.
“The tactics are going to be different,” Palencia said. “They know many players that are here. I don’t want to compare both coaches, but the only thing that I can say is we trusted Chelís when he came here. We supported him and looked forward to bringing players to him, but the results weren’t enough for Chivas. We decided to bring a very successful coach in from Mexico. … He’s the right person to coach this team and put this club where it needs to be.”
Palencia was set to return to club headquarters on Sunday to prepare for next week’s Mexican draft. He flew in to the Los Angeles area on Saturday to support interim coach Sacha van der Most, the club’s youth development director.
Chivas USA, who are off from MLS competition until June 19, expect Real to arrive sometime next week. They will play at the Carolina RailHawks in the fourth round of the US Open Cup on June 12, but van der Most is slated to man the bench in the tournament.
“Our players have pretty good skills,” Palencia said. “We have very, very good players. We trust them. I’m sure we’re going to start working again with a different coach, different tactics and different way to practice. The talent is there. I’m sure in some weeks we’re going to turn it around with good results.”