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Chivas USA 2013 Player Postmortem: Jose Manuel Rivera

A guy who put in the work, but couldn't hack it in MLS.

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Jose Manuel Rivera was probably the most anonymous Chivas USA player in 2013. Signed to Chivas de Guadalajara and then transferred to Chivas USA without ever featuring for the mothership, the Mexican striker had spent just a few short stints in the Mexican first division, some time in Eastern Europe, plus a spell with Finnish club RoPS, in both the first and second divisions, which was his resume prior to coming to MLS.

At 27, there was some talk that Rivera could contribute right away to Chivas, and that he could provide leadership to the squad. On the second count, I think he did, but he definitely didn't perform on the field in limited minutes.

Neither Chelís nor Jose Luis Real played Rivera much during the season, and from what he showed on the field, that doesn't seem like a big mistake. He worked, seemed like he was trying, but that was about it. I never remember seeing him do anything really special to warrant additional minutes. To add to an undistinguished season, Rivera was the anti-victory cigar, as Chivas never won in his 10 appearances.

Here are Rivera's statistics with Chivas USA in 2013:

Games Played Games Started Minutes Goals Assists Shots SOG Yellow Cards Red Cards
MLS Regular Season 9 3 266 0 0 6 1 1 0
U.S. Open Cup 1 0 60 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 10 3 326 0 0 6 1 1 0

One of the mysteries about Rivera was that he apparently was pretty good at free kicks, and yet he almost never took them when he was playing with the first team. Add to that the uncertainty over his true position, as he was listed as a forward but played in midfield 90 percent of the time, and it was clearly a poor fit. And throw on top of all that his salary, which was a whopping $116,000, and the return on investment just didn't pan out.

Obviously I don't want to bash the guy, but he really didn't distinguish himself in 2013. He may have had the right attitude, but he just didn't have the skills to make it in MLS. With the reserves, he was solid, so maybe he needs to go down a level, but it just didn't work out.

Future:

Rivera won't be back, as his contract option was declined by Chivas USA. I don't see him going back to Chivas de Guadalajara, either. I think it's pretty likely he'll try again in Mexico, possibly in the Liga Ascenso, where a number of former Chivas USA players have carved out careers after leaving the Goats.

He may have been a good locker room guy, but I don't foresee Rivera's departure coming back to haunt Chivas USA.

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