CARSON, Calif. – Chivas USA head into their season opener without a clear-cut captain, but not for a lack of options. Head coach Wilmer Cabrera believes he has an abundance of good candidates.
The two leading names are goalkeeper Dan Kennedy, who wore the armband last year, and former US national team captain Carlos Bocanegra, who has taken a leadership role with the Goats since returning to MLS last July. Newcomers Mauro Rosales and Agustín Pelletieri are two other potential choices given past experience as captains for the Seattle Sounders and Argentina’s Racing Club de Avellaneda, respectively.
“Right now we have very good leaders,” Cabrera told reporters ahead of Chivas USA’s opening matchup against the Chicago Fire (Sunday, 3 pm ET; UniMas). “We have leaders with experience and responsibilities on their shoulders. They can manage that. It’s about making them feel that it’s not most important who wears the captaincy, it’s how we can make all of those captains feel comfortable working as soldiers and working on the field for each other.”
Kennedy, the elder statesman who has played under six different coaches in his time with the club, reiterated that regaining captaincy is not important to him.
“We have a lot of great leaders on this team,” Kennedy told reporters. “It’s an armband. It’s more important that guys in the locker room all know where we’re at. We have a lot of leaders in there. It’s not just about one guy.”
The Goats certainly appear to have plenty of veteran voices – something that was lacking in a vastly underwhelming 2013.
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Rosales has taken some younger midfielders under his wing since arriving from Seattle in the Tristan Bowen trade, while Pelletieri, who speaks English and Spanish, has valuable experience that could translate well in this league, Cabrera said.
Bocanegra has the most resonating influence on the back line.
“Carlos’ experience is going to be real important for us this year,” Kennedy said. “You know the quality of player that he is, but the influence that he has on guys in training, that’s the kind of thing I’m trying to take off him and learn off him. He’s a real positive influence with the young players and even guys like me.”