CARSON, Calif. – Between adapting to life outside his native Mexico and learning the ins and outs of both his new team and those of MLS, new Chivas USA head coach José Luis “Chelís” Sánchez Solá has had a busy time of his his first months in MLS.
The more he sees, though, the clearer his vision has become. And though a strong Mexican influence is still clearly part of it – Chivas picked Mexican-American Carlos Alvarez at No. 2 in the SuperDraft and have three players from parent club Chivas de Guadalajara in camp – it may be less of a determining factor in his roster decisions than previously anticipated.
“I forget more and more each day that they are players from Chivas, that they are players from Mexico,” Sánchez Solá told MLSsoccer.com on Wednesday. “It’s like a fruit salad – you have a hard time figuring out what’s the watermelon and what’s the cantaloupe. We’re all Chivas USA, we’re all the same cocktail.”
Sánchez Solá’s day-to-day grind is well underway with Chivas’ training camp now one week old. And while two-a-days and fitness drills have dominated Chivas’ landscape, Sánchez Solá has had the opportunity to get to know the team, and he likes what he’s seen.
“They are a good group of guys,” Chelís said after a lively training session. “They have a lot of desire to stand out.”
While on-the-ball work has not quite been to the levels expected during the season, the skill level present on the roster is evident. The roster may be fluid still, but if Sánchez Solá has to pick a starting lineup to face the Columbus Crew on March 2 from the players who are in camp now, he would not hesitate to do so.
“For me the roster is very complete. If it stays like this, believe me when I say that I would be happy,” he said. “If management thinks otherwise, I’ll have to go with them but I’m very pleased with what I am doing and very happy with the group that I have.”