CARSON, Calif. — Chivas USA hit the training field on Thursday without José Luis “El Chelís” Sánchez Solá for the first time since the club announced late Wednesday night that it had parted ways with the Mexican coach. With Chelís and his preference for in-practice music gone, the two-hour session was relatively quiet.
Captain Dan Kennedy was remorseful, indicating he and his teammates also deserved some blame for the Goats’ poor play the last two months.
“It’s always surprising, especially because this is such a big project with all of the changes that have been made,” Kennedy told reporters. “It’s going to be a tough season. To blame it all on Chelís is unfair. That’s the way I feel.”
Chelís’ departure came after Chivas USA dropped six of their past seven matches. They did win the final game he coached Tuesday, beating the LA Blues 2-1 in the third round of the US Open Cup.
Sasha van der Most, the club’s youth development director, will serve as interim coach on Saturday when the Rojiblancos host the Seattle Sounders at the Home Depot Center (10:30 pm ET, watch LIVE online). Newly appointed head coach José Luis Real isn’t expected to arrive from Guadalajara until Monday, a club spokesperson told MLSsoccer.com.
“It’s difficult,” midfielder Eric Avila said. “Chelís is a good friend and a coach we all liked. It’s tough that he’s gone, but we have to keep going. Right now we feel terrible, but that’s soccer.”
Kennedy said he wasn’t sure how much of the departure was Chelís’ decision, even though the club press release stated it was a mutual agreement.
“We still have a long way to go,” Kennedy told MLSsoccer.com. ”It isn’t like we had made huge strides. After Week 5, we were happy with where we were at, but it hasn’t been good enough. It’s just a tough situation to be a part of.
“Chelís is super professional in everything he says and does and he was always about putting the players first. That’s why we all feel so bad about it.”