"Aarón, I like him a lot," Chelís told reporters last week. "He is in the position where we don't have any players like him. I can't compare him with anybody. I can't say he's better or worse than anyone else because I don't have anyone like him."
- Chelís,May 10, 2013
Martin Aaron Ponce joined Chivas USA on loan from Chivas de Guadalajara in May, and was shipped back to Mexico by the beginning of September. Based on the above quote, one would think he might really be something special, but it was hard to tell that based on the time he saw for the Goats.
In all, he made just six appearances in all competitions for Chivas USA in 2013. Here are his stats for the season:
|Games Played||Games Started||Minutes||Goals||Assists||Shots||SOG||Yellow Cards||Red Cards|
|MLS Regular Season||5||1||170||0||0||4||1||1||0|
|U.S. Open Cup||1||1||45||0||0||0||0||0||0|
It's entirely possible that Ponce was unfortunate in that he joined the team right around the time that Chelís was fired, and Jose Luis Real packed up his stuff and drove up to California to take over the coaching duties. In all, he didn't see the field very much and it is hard to make full-on assessments of his play based on just 215 minutes, most of them coming as a substitute.
That said, the 21-year-old didn't really demonstrate anything particularly special in very limited minutes to indicate a major mistake was made concerning his loan spell ending. Under Chelís, he effectively ran all over the field, like most of his teammates, no doubt following Chelís' unorthodox tactics. Under Real, he was mostly deployed in the middle of the field, though based on his individual stats, he appeared to give up possession pretty often, which isn't a great trait. It appeared that he would often get pushed off the ball by MLS opponents far too easily, also not a good trait.
I don't want to be too harsh on the guy, but he didn't really do a great deal in admittedly limited minutes, and I don't think too many Goats' fans really cared all that much when he left the team. Instead of kickstarting his professional career, he became one of many names in an ultimately lost season for Chivas USA.
After returning to Mexico, Ponce was sent to Chivas Rayadas, Chivas de Guadalajara's reserve side in the Mexican third division. Now, it could be that Chivas' brass are doing something sensible and giving Ponce some more time to work on his game before giving him a debut with the full team, something that many good pros have done over the years. But it could also be that he's really not a Liga MX player (not to mention not an MLS player), and the team is giving him a bit of time to prove himself one way or the other.
He has been playing regularly with Chivas Rayadas, playing nine matches out of 13 total in league play, and scoring two goals, with the team sitting in first place right now in their group. Perhaps MLS just didn't fit Ponce's game. But if that's the case, hopefully management can do a better job of identifying talent that actually can work in MLS, more players like Erick Torres and frankly, fewer like Martin Ponce. He may put it together someday, but by the looks of it, 2013 was not his time.
What do you think? Leave a comment below!
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