CARSON, Calif. – Nick LaBrocca admits it: 2011 was definitely a wild season.
Traded to Chivas USA from Toronto FC in March, LaBrocca went from an expendable commodity to an MLS All-Star by putting together the finest season of his career. While starting in all 34 games, the Goats midfielder finished the campaign with eight goals and six assists to earn the team's Golden Boot.
“It was definitely one thing that I never would have expected, to get a Golden Boot, but it's all over with and now I'll have time to reflect on it over the next couple of months,” LaBrocca told MLSsoccer.com. “After that everyone is back at zeros so it's something to see what went right and what went wrong so that I can get better.”
The midfielder will be hard pressed to improve on a 2011 season in which he developed into a top tier MLS playmaker. With his calm and composed service from the midfield, LaBrocca created countless opportunities for Chivas. And, incredibly, he did it without having a permanent residence in Southern California at the start of the season.
“It's been pretty crazy and hectic, I was in a hotel for the first four or five months of the year and then dealing with moving in the middle of the season, and everything was blending in together so it's been pretty crazy,” LaBrocca said. “Then I got into a little hot streak and even made the All-Star team. It's been tough to explain, really.”
LaBrocca and Chivas USA may be out of the postseason, but one of his old teams is in the thick of the playoff hunt. LaBrocca was drafted by the Colorado Rapids in 2007 and spent three years with the Rapids before being traded early in the 2010 season.
However, while his former teammates try defend the MLS Cup title, LaBrocca and the rest of the Rojiblancos' focus has been turned to getting ready for next season.
“It's not about short fixes anymore, it's all about big picture and seeing what we need to work on,” LaBrocca said. “Starting that right now, while getting into good habits for the beginning of next season.”
Adam Serrano covers Chivas USA for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.