Chivas USA held their first preseason scrimmage Saturday against UC Irvine, and "What the Flock?!" was there. We had an opportunity to speak once again with Chivas USA coach Jose Luis Sanchez Sola. El Chelís didn't mince words, as he never does.
Below is the English transcript of the interview.
What The Flock: Welcome to What The Flock. How did you see the scrimmage against UCI?
Chelis: Very good. There were two objectives. First, to recuperate the ball quickly, second to get the ball into attack. In the 80 minutes we recovered the ball close to 60 times, and transitioned to attack close to 50 times. The black art in terms of construction is there. Now we need decoration. Here we will decide if we use marble or if we use cheap flooring material, use candles or a cheap light bulb. What is lacking is decoration on the house. The black art has been constructed.
WTF: We've lost a bit of height in the defense and midfield. Is there a plan to bring in more players to help out? We've got some players but not with much experience.
Chelis: Do you mean height in terms of game play or in physical stature?
WTF: Physical stature. We just saw Chivas USA concede on a set piece. Is that something you plan on addressing?
Chelis: No. No, I think this is the tallest defense I've had all my life. It happens. For example, in English football almost all goals are headed in and all defenders are big. They're good at putting the ball in, bad at defending, perhaps that's the reason. It was a mistake by a young trialist, Daniel. This is the tallest defense I've had. They're all huge.
WTF: We've seen the team lose veterans like Danny Califf, Shalrie Joseph, players that aren't Mexican-American. Can you address the people that say you're out to displace non Mexican-Americans to bring in Mexican-Americans, which seems a little strange and exaggerated.
Chelis: Exaggerated, no? The base of my team today is Kennedy, Burling, Zemanski, Bower (sic, Bowen), listen, none of these players were born in Xochimilco and they're the base of my team. No one is going to tell you this, but I'll say it. They have to see that the reason some players left is due to their high salary, our budget then becomes higher. Players with the higher salaries needed to leave, not because they don't speak Spanish. The reason is economic. Check out the players that stayed, the highest salaried player doesn't reach half of the salary of the departed players. That is the reason. Some people [are] embarrassed to admit they don't have money when 90% of the world population don't have any money. This team needs to guide itself on things far more than power, salaries or acquisition power. A great group needs to be formed, that great group needs to take us forward.
WTF: Is this your final squad or is there a designated player in the works? Vergara has said he will bring in a designated player.
Chelis: If Mr. Vergara brings him, welcome. From what I see a designated player cannot come because it will surpass our budget. All players around the world have a team right now, they're playing, so it's difficult. If they bring me one, welcome. I don't eat glass, if they bring me Juan Camaney*, welcome. But I do understand we're trying to lower our budget by taking out high salaried players. Oswaldo Minda, national team player for his country, great holding midfielder. It's money. I don't want them to take out my players for another player from who knows where.
*(A comic character made famous by Mexican comedian Luis de Alba - Ed.)
WTF: The first 5 games are at home. What is the plan to start off the season that's only a month away and we still don't have a set squad. What is the plan of the first 5 games?
Chelis: I think you made a mistake. We have the first 3 games at home, after the Galaxy game we travel. This week I addressed the first two subjects, next week I will address two more and keep adding over our base we built these last five days. The first game we will play for everything. There will be no excuses of it being our first game, being comfortable, being tired, no excuses of not having a designated player, no excuses. We need to go for three points. You will see the best Chivas USA in the first game and hopefully you continue to see it in the last game.
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