CARSON, Calif. – José Luis “Guero” Real didn't have much good to say about Chivas USA's season-ending debacle Saturday night, but he's confident the club has made progress since his arrival in early June and next season will “continue building on the good things that we did this year and keep working on the things we need to do better.”
Whether he'll be back when camps open again in January or working elsewhere under Club Deportivo Guadalajara's umbrella isn't certain, but the foundation has been constructed, he said, for what Chivas is to become.
“This is a project, and it's important to say I came here to install a style, and it's a project that normally takes about three years to be fruitful ...,” Real said after the Portland Timbers romped to a 5-0 victory at the StubHub Center. “It's going to take time. It's a complicated project.”
The Goats haven't gotten the results – they went 6-20-8 to finish last in the Western Conference for the second straight season and third time in four years – but they've figured out “the direction we are taking forward,” he said.
“We know who will be here and who won't be here next season,” Real said. “Who we'll be bringing [into the team], and we also have a very clear idea the style we're going to play.”
Creating a style of play has been the primary work this year, and it's one that Chivas has “played normally this season, obviously not what we saw today,” one that is “not as direct and vertical as the style of play that we're accustomed to seeing in MLS.”
Real would not say which players will and won't return but said there was “an entire plan in place” and that plans would be revealed more fully following a yet-to-be-finalized friendly in November.
He said Saturday's game was the Goats' “second-worst” performance, along with that in a 5-0 loss Oct. 6 to the Galaxy, and that the showing “has left a bad impression on the fans and on the players and on everyone who was here today.”
Chivas' finish, with five straight losses – three of them while giving up five goals – was the product of injuries, suspensions and youth, “but all of that is just excuses,” Real said.
“For me as a coach for the last four months, I haven't been able to count on the same starting XI,” he said. “And that was for me the biggest problem, not having that continuity.”
There is continuity with the project, however, and that's critical for the future.
“Independent of whether I'm here, I'm not here, the idea is going to remain the same. With or without me,” he said. “The most important part is everyone has the commitment to move forward and move the project forward next season.”