Thomas Rongen

The Clean Sheet: Dutch retreat

no one really could have seen this coming.

Despite a background maybe not exactly conducive to the skill set needed for this new role, I do think the new coach will be up to the task with his wealth of knowledge and a perspective honed with his years of experience in and out of Major League Soccer.

But enough about Sigi Schmid joining as a columnist, let's now turn our attention to the other big hiring this week -- Thomas Rongen for CD Chivas USA.

And let me be one of the first to say ... huh?

When I heard the Rongen rumors earlier in the week, my initial reaction was simply one of disbelief. I guess I just fully expected the head coach to be someone from in or around the Chivas organization, perhaps followed by the hiring of an assistant coach or head of player personnel with more MLS experience.

The CD Chivas USA people seemed from the start like they were going to do things a little differently, and almost give off the feel of a non-MLS side playing in MLS. And as I have written in this space before, I would be a big fan of the fresh breath of air and excitement that would potentially bring to the league.

Yes, the Chivas side from south of the 2-0 Border has a history of international coaches, but like many, I at the very least expected a manager of Mexican or Hispanic descent and a fluent speaker of the Spanish language. This especially given that every indication we had received from the CD Chivas USA organization was that this club would conduct its day-to-day business in Spanish.

Yup, your old pal Tino was spot on as usual.

So once again, I say ... huh?

Well, Chivas owner Jorge Vergara has a reputation as being rather flamboyant and many wondered how he would fit into the MLS mold, so perhaps we are seeing the first of many moves that will have people scratching their heads.

I sincerely hope we are not seeing the first of many moves that will conform to the status quo in the league. I'll be the first to admit, I want CD Chivas USA to be different, to really push the envelope. I want them to be the Yankees of MLS ... or for that matter, the Chivas of MLS. I want everyone to love 'em or hate 'em.

I love that they already have the Galaxy organization bunkering in on and off the field (I welcome's new columnist with open arms, but it says here if there was never a CD Chivas USA, Sigi is still getting the Galaxy ready for the playoffs). I hope that CD Chivas USA is so exciting and enterprising that they make all 11 other MLS clubs react, as well.

Now, if you look at Thomas Rongen's pedigree on paper, it is obviously impressive. And of course there is the connection with fellow Dutchman Hans Westerhoff, a technical director of the Chivas organization, which of course had a lot to do with this move.

But I am among those that believe that MLS is a league that needs new talent in the coaching ranks, and I was hoping the CD Chivas USA hire would open the door for a fresh face. Not so much. While Rongen is an able coach, knows the league and does have a ring, the fact is he now takes over his fourth MLS side and has become the Raul Diaz Arce of MLS coaches.

It remains to be seen what Salt Lake is going to do, but I would not mind seeing them pull a name like Brian Bliss or Mo Johnston from the MLS assistant coaching ranks. New faces add new ideas and spirit to the sideline or the front office, which is why I liked the hires of guys like Whit Haskel at Chivas and Steve Pastorino in Salt Lake -- guys who have something to prove as they step up to the top job for their respective clubs.

I guess if nothing else I am just shocked that CD Chivas USA chose to begin its foray into MLS with a thrice-recycled coach. Then again, when it comes to predicting how coaches will fare, I am the first to admit I have been proven wrong once or twice (see: Andrulis, Greg, circa 2004).

The bottom line is this move makes two straight coaching hires by MLS teams in Los Angeles that very well may work out in the end, but I frankly just do not understand.

I know a guy, who knows a guy, who knows a guy ... so every week TCS is gonna put a little action on the action, if you know what I'm talkin' about. Each week in this space we'll track how last week went and what's on the books, so to speak, for the upcoming week.

LAST WEEK: Three up and two down thanks to D.C., Columbus and my Burn, so 23 chop 150 off of the debt.


THIS WEEK: The Quakes need a W in front of the home crowd, so let's go 100 on 'em to pull it off, plus another 100 on the Open Cup champs to knock off Mile High Club. Pad it out with 50 each on a Crew-Metro draw, my Burn over Metro and a Revs-Fire draw.


Saturday - MANCHESTER CITY vs. ARSENAL (3 p.m. ET delayed on Fox Sports World): Claudio and the boys may no longer be playing to keep Kevin Keegan in his job (for now), but a visit from the team that never loses in the Premiership should make for a good one.

Saturday - GALAXY at QUAKES (10 p.m. ET on Fox Sports World): Okay, Quakes fans, this is no longer funny. The lads simply need to beat FC Entertainment, period. Sounds like a good crowd should be on hand, so this looks to be a fun one.

The always understated Joe Bazooka sums up Mile High Club's whuppin' at the hands of New Eng-er-land last weekend: "You don't expect to lose to Real Madrid 6-1, let alone the New England Revolution."

Out of the hmmmm department, our man Tobias Lopez brought up the possibility of Ronnie O'Brien playing for the US one day. O'Brien, who has applied for a green card: "If [U.S. national team head coach] Bruce [Arena] came to me and said, `Ronnie, I'd fancy you playing over here on the right side.' I'd play. I'd be more than happy to play."

The timing award of the year goes to Crew striker Edson Buddle, who saved his four-goal explosion for game that happened to be attended by none other than The Bruce.

The new "CSI:NY" is a keeper, but doesn't Gary Sinise just look like he should always be playing a bad guy? If this were pro wrestling, I'd keep waiting for him to suddenly turn and whack Melina Kanakaredes over the head with a steel chair.

With a Dutch coach and a Dutch technical director, wonder if Jeff Bradley was hoping CD Chivas USA would introduce an orange look at Thursday's presser. Unlucky.

Manchester United midfielder Roy Keane was charged with assault and criminal damage Tuesday over an alleged confrontation with a 16-year-old boy. Manchester police said Keane got into the confrontation with the teenager while walking his dog earlier this month at an area golf course. Ahh, Dema, so much still to do in your career.

Congrats to Bob Gansler and the Wizards on winning the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, a tournament which began in 1914. And congrats to Hunt himself for bringing the funny by telling the Kansas City Star: "I vehemently deny that I was at the first U.S. Open Cup final."

Congrats to veteran soccer scribe and good guy Jerry Trecker, who will be deservedly honored by the National Soccer Hall of Fame.

I tuned in to a new show on ABC called "Lost", thinking it was a story about the 2004 Chicago Fire. Instead it's about a bunch of people who survive a plane crash on a deserted island which looks to be inhabited by dinosaurs or something. Unlike the Fire, these dinosaurs can finish, though.

The Clean Sheet runs each Thursday on Views and opinions expressed in this column views and opinions are the author's, and not necessarily those of Major League Soccer or its clubs. Send any questions and comments to

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