CARSON, Calif. — With the 2010 MLS season now over for Chivas USA, first-year head coach Martín Vásquez and his players now begin a much-needed rebuilding process for 2011.
After ending the year second from the bottom of the table with an 8-18-4 record and failing to make the playoffs for the first time since 2005, Vásquez, said the process starts with taking responsibility.
“We have to start looking at some of the things that went wrong,” said Vásquez. “But first of all, take responsibility. I think it’s the first thing [I have to do]. I can start naming facts or arguments but they are all going to sound like excuses. If we blame this or that, it’s not going to work.
“The emotions are difficult right now, but the only way we turn this around is by making sure that we learn from the mistakes we made this season.”
Adding to the discomfort of an already tough year was an season-ending stretch of games that saw the Red-and-White lose six of their final seven contests – including a 4-1 loss to Chicago to close the regular season.
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Much of Chivas USA’s difficulty in 2010 can be attributed to the staggeringly high amount of turnover.
Since Vásquez arrived on Dec. 2 of last year, 17 players on the roster have left the team due to retirement, release, transfer, loan or the 2010 Expansion Draft. Conversely, 14 new faces have arrived in their stead.
Needless to say, it’s not easy to find a consistent team chemistry if the players keep changing.
“The transition has been difficult,” admitted Vásquez. “We have always been objective in every game, and we have always looked at the positives, knowing that we have been in transition. [We] have been tested and challenged, but we also think that we have to continue to work.”
Likely high on Vásquez’s offseason to-do list is acquiring a few veteran players for the 2011 season. The Red-and-White boast an exceptionally young roster, and the departures of Sacha Kljestan and now Jonathan Bornstein have left the squad in want of veteran leadership.
“The way I feel, it’s really difficult to give you a good answer, but I think we need help,” Vásquez said. “We need to strengthen every line in our team. We have to look at all possibilities and change this around.”
The Goats will have a few more practice sessions before breaking for the December holidays, and then, Vásquez and his staff will begin the long process of starting all over again.
“Other franchises, other teams, other coaches, other players have responded in our league,” he said. “That’s what we have to do; we have to regroup.”
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