CARSON, Calif. – Rookie midfielder Carlos Alvarez, like many Chivas USA players, has not had the easiest time this season.
Change for the Rojiblancos has been constant, if not entirely chaotic, and the adjustment process has seemingly been never ending.
Alvarez arrived as a highly touted talent out of UConn, famously hand picked by former coach José Luis “El Chelís” Sánchez Solá days before the MLS SuperDraft. He scored a dramatic, game-tying goal in his debut against the rival LA Galaxy in March, but has since endured a coaching change and numerous position switches.
“At a technical level, he’s very good,” Chivas USA head coach José Luis “Guero” Real told MLSsoccer.com. “He has great shot location. We’ve had to utilize him at various positions, so in that regard we’ve made it problematic for him. I’m sure if he played only one position, he’d have better endurance.
“Based on the necessities of the team, we’ve had to use him on the right wing, higher up top or farther down in our formation. He’s helped us a lot and has been an important player, but if we didn’t have a necessity to move him all over, he’d be at a better level.”
A star in college, Alvarez scored seven goals and had nine assists as a senior on his way to being named the Big East Conference midfielder of the year. This season, he has two goals and three assists while starting 25 of the Goats’ 32 games.
The Los Angeles native, though, has not played a full 90 minutes since Aug. 25 – a string of seven matches. And he played only 32 minutes in last week’s SuperClasico against the Galaxy. He is also one of 17 players to make their MLS debut for last-place Chivas USA (6-18-8) this season,
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According to Real, the lack of lineup continuity has affected Alvarez’s development in a sense. The 22-year-old, though, has not made excuses.
“I was fortunate enough that both coaches we’ve had gave me the opportunity and confidence to play,” Alvarez told MLSsoccer.com. “It’s something positive and, obviously, there will be ups and downs. There will be hiccups, but I’ve learned a lot from my teammates that have more experience.
“At first, I struggled just to get adapted. I’ve learned a lot and have a better vision for the field. I’m fortunate to be doing what I’m doing, so I enjoy it as much as possible.”
Blair Angulo covers Chivas USA for MLSsoccer.com.