CARSON, Calif. – After four consecutive years in the playoffs, the 2010 MLS season saw Chivas USA slip down into the basement of the Western Conference with a final record of 8-18-4. The team’s poor season resulted in the firing of first-year head coach Martín Vásquez on Oct. 27, and the team has been searching for a replacement since.
MLSsoccer.com sat down with Chivas USA vice president of soccer operations Stephen Hamilton, who has been overseeing the club in the absence of a head coach, to chat about how the season went for the Red-and-White and how the club intends to turn things around next year.
MLSsoccer.com: How has the club reacted to the 2010 season?
Hamilton: At the end of the day, we were all disappointed. We had higher expectations going into the season. There were a couple of games there where we thought we could have been on the other end of the result. There was a stretch there where we could have tied games and we wound up losing in the dying moments of the game. I believe we lost in the last minute of three games in a row. That hurt us in terms of getting into a rhythm and getting some confidence at a critical time.
MLSsoccer.com: Was there ever a point during the season when panic set in?
Hamilton: We never hit the panic button, but we were obviously very concerned about the situation. We tried to address those issues in the short term to help us going forward. We brought a few players in during the July transfer window that we thought would help us. We brought in Paulo Nagamura, Giancarlo Maldonado, and Rodolfo Espinoza, and we got Sal Zizzo, so I thought we were aggressive in terms of trying to help strengthen the squad at that point. Unfortunately, it may not have been enough. We need to continue to re-evaluate everything.
[inline_node:314750]MLSsoccer.com: What’s the team’s mind set now that the season is over?
Hamilton: What we’re focused on is – collectively and individually – what we can do to get better. We’re asking all our returning players to make sure that they’re dedicated to 2011 and come back ready to go. We want them to enjoy the break, but we want them to take care of the conditioning that we’ve asked of them.
MLSsoccer.com: How focused are you on finding new players?
Hamilton: We’ve got to do everything we can during this offseason to continue to find players that we feel will fill the gaps for us. We’ve been scouting a lot these last couple of weeks. We’ve also been looking at various college players and we’ve got our list. It depends a lot on who’s left. Hopefully, there will be a very good player available and we’ll see. We’ve already made some additions to our attack, so our priority for the draft might be to see what we can do on the back line.
MLSsoccer.com: Specifically, what are you looking at addressing?
Hamilton: We have to bolster a few positions and we need. Scoring goals has been difficult for us in the past few seasons. We obviously had a great season from Justin Braun with his nine goals and Jesus Padilla with this six, but we need even more. As a team, we need to create more scoring opportunities. We need to sure a few things up.
MLSsoccer.com: Do you think Chivas USA will have a better season in 2011?
Hamilton: I don’t think we’re far away. If you look at our results this year, there are only a few games where we lost by more than one goal. It’s just a matter of getting a piece or two that will help us get over that hump.
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