CARSON, Calif. – The search for a lasting replacement for injured rookie midfielder Thomas McNamara is a fluid one for Chivas USA, but head coach Wilmer Cabrera appears to have some capable candidates.
One of the big changes Cabrera made last week was inserting Marco Delgado into the lineup that earned a 3-1 victory against the Colorado Rapids, and the 18-year-old midfielder repaid him by proving effective in ball recovery situations out wide.
With veteran playmaker Mauro Rosales (left adductor strain) expected to return to the starting 11 for this weekend's visit to FC Dallas (8:30 pm ET, MLS LIVE), Cabrera has another potential option in the center in Martin Rivero, who filled in admirably on the right wing with an assist last week.
Add to the mix the recently-acquired Marvin Chavez, who reported for Honduras national team duty shortly after scoring two goals in his debut, and the Rojiblancos could be faced with some difficult decisions down the line.
“That means everyone is getting adjusted and improving their level,” Cabrera told MLSsoccer.com. “This is the right time and right moment to be at a good level, be a part of the game and bring something to the team.”
Leandro Barrera has his spot on the left wing all but locked down by complementing lone forward Erick “Cubo” Torres well, while Rosales is a known commodity on the right side, leaving the spot formerly vacated by McNamara (ACL tear) as the big uncertainty.
Save for a red card in his first start of the season on April 19 against the Seattle Sounders, Delgado has performed admirably and earned his share of minutes in competition with Carlos Alvarez, the No. 2 overall selection in the 2013 MLS SuperDraft.
“Marky, the last time he was on the field, he was playing very well, then he got the red card,” Cabrera said. “Marky can adapt better; he does a little bit better when he plays wide. Carlos is more in the center of the field. For Carlos to be out wide, it’s not his natural position, so we don’t want to sacrifice him. We decided for Marky it worked well since Marky can play anywhere in the middle. He’s a good young player.”
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Yet if one candidate doesn’t clearly separate himself from the others, the Goats (2-5-3) could be faced with a problem. Cabrera has talked at length this season about wanting to field a consistent look every week.
“We are going to see what the situation is with the players,” Cabrera said. “Mauro is available, Marky is available, Carlos is available; we have better numbers of available players. We lost Marvin; he came in, scored two goals and then left for the national team.
“We’re trying to see what is the best fit and best lineup to face this very tough opponent.”