Daniel Antunez entered the 2013 MLS season in a position similar to many of his Chivas USA teammates. A Mexican American player who had no MLS experience and bounced around leagues all over the world (in his case, the U.S. lower leagues, the Mexican Primera, and the Finnish leagues), little was known about him until he stepped onto the field for Chivas.
Ultimately, bad luck sunk Antunez's season, as he tore his ACL in his one and only start with the Goats, April 13 against the Colorado Rapids. With the injury, his 2013 campaign was over, and he had only three appearances to show in all.
Here are Antunez's 2013 statistics:
|Games Played||Games Started||Minutes||Goals||Assists||Shots||SOG||Yellow Cards||Red Cards|
|MLS Regular Season||3||1||81||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|U.S. Open Cup||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
Chivas' record during Antunez's three games was good, at 2-1-0, so he got to enjoy the good ol' days of Chelís' tenure before the bottom fell out in a hurry.
In looking at his chalkboards of his performances, he played in a defensive midfield position, but didn't really touch the ball much at all. I imagine that he was supposed to see the ball a bit more after getting acclimated on the field in a new league, but since that didn't happen, we didn't get to see his skills much in that department. Still, his job clearly appeared to be to press opponents as hard as possible and not really worry about getting the ball at all, instead leaving that job up to his teammates while he just closed space.
At 27 years old, the Santa Ana native doesn't appear to have many chances left. He rarely ventured forward and his passes were primarily linking the midfield from the defense. That might be an unfair assessment given he was providing cover for the 3-man backline that Chelís favored.
Antunez's future with Chivas USA looks to be over, as his contract option was declined by the club. He was making a somewhat surprising salary considering his lack of MLS experience, as he was listed as making $65,000 base salary/$72,500 guaranteed compensation in 2013. So I suppose it is theoretically possible the club could renegotiate with him and bring him back at a lower salary. But that looks pretty unlikely.
It will be interesting to see where he goes from here. Obviously coming off a major injury is tough enough, but doing that while trying to find a new club has to be a real challenge. Will he look to find a team in the NASL or USL-PRO to sign with? Will he go to Mexico or Finland once again and see if he can get another shot? In the end, it's a shame for him and for us, since we didn't really get to see him play any substantial minutes for the Goats, and we don't know what his ceiling in the league ultimately could have been.
What do you think? Leave a comment below!
More from The Goat Parade:
- Chivas USA 2013 Player Postmortem: The players who did not see the field
- Paco Palencia goes back to Guadalajara, Chivas USA coach and sporting director positions up in air
- The purge begins: Chivas USA cut ties with 10 players
- Introducing the 2013 Chivas USA Player Postmortems
- The Goat Parade's 2013 Chivas USA awards revealed