CARSON, Calif. – A porous Chivas USA defense will get a makeover with the arrival of new head coach José Luis “Guero” Real, who has indicated he will implement a different scheme than former coach José Luis “El Chelís” Sánchez Solá.
The Goats have been adapting to a 4-3-3 formation since the late-May firing of Chelís, who firmly stood by his three-man backline despite surrendering the most goals in MLS. Part-time replacement Sasha van der Most used the new look in the two games he coached, which Chivas USA lost 2-0 to the Seattle Sounders and 3-1 to the Carolina RailHawks in the fourth round of the US Open Cup.
Real is scheduled to make his MLS coaching debut Wednesday against the Vancouver Whitecaps, the last league opponent the Goats beat way back on March 30.
“It’s a way we can adapt that could help us play well,” Real told reporters. “As a consequence of that [defensive change], results could arrive.”
Chivas USA have conceded a Western Conference-high 26 goals in 13 matches. Goalkeeper Dan Kennedy is currently tied for eighth with 43 saves, but has a league-worst 1.72 goals-against average among regulars.
The Rojiblancos have yet to maintain a clean sheet this season.
“We’re still learning [Real’s] concepts,” midfielder Jorge Villafaña told MLSsoccer.com. “It’s an adjustment we hope doesn’t take long so we can find our rhythm.”
The Goats have not scored first in any of their previous 10 matches – an indication of too many defensive lapses, as well as a lack of offensive threats.
“We need to stay calm, but at the same time have a bit of urgency to get that first goal,” midfielder Gabriel Farfan told MLSsoccer.com. “We need to come out with an energy that maybe we haven’t come out with.”
Both sporting president Dennis te Kloese and director of soccer Francisco Palencia claimed Chelís didn’t do enough with the talent he had at his disposal. And while having a player like Juan Agudelo atop the formation at first allowed Chelís to employ the risky three-man backline, the trade that sent the promising forward to the New England Revolution created a ripple effect that Chivas USA have not been able to solve.
“The absence of goal has been obvious,” defender Joaquín Velázquez told MLSsoccer.com. “The forward [Agudelo] we counted on was important, but he’s gone. It’s been difficult to replace him, but we’ve got to work as a team to make up for it.”
Blair Angulo covers Chivas USA for MLSsoccer.com.