I have to say, Giovani Casillas had one of the stranger seasons for Chivas USA in 2013. We all knew that the midfielder, on loan from Chivas de Guadalajara, was with the MLS side to get some playing time, and to further develop his game. His stint with Chivas USA was always meant to be short.
But he didn't even see out the season, going back in June after CD Guadalajara came to town for preseason training. After playing just six games across all competitions, he was gone.
Now, since he went back to Mexico, you would think he was a part of their plans, right? He played in one match all of this past season. Is he the Chivasest player to ever Chivas?
Here are Casillas' stats with Chivas USA in 2013:
|Games Played||Games Started||Minutes||Goals||Assists||Shots||SOG||Yellow Cards||Red Cards|
|MLS Regular Season||5||2||182||1||0||3||1||0||0|
|U.S. Open Cup||1||1||45||0||0||0||0||0||0|
Chelís used the 19-year-old in the first two league games of the season, including the game where he scored the capper in Chivas' 3-1 win over FC Dallas. Then he didn't feature the next four games at all, why, I have no idea. Then he came off the bench for a game, sat the next two, and featured in the next two. He also played in the Goats' U.S. Open Cup win, but got pulled at halftime after starting the game.
So the sample size for this guy, like the other guys we've profiled so far from this season, was really small. Unlike, say, Martin Ponce, who really didn't show much in his short time, I do think Casillas showed he had some potential, but since he almost never played, it was really hard to determine how good he actually was. And it is hard to know if he might have been part of the tug-of-war between Chelís and Chivas' management, if he was really only meant to be around for a few months, or if it was determined he wasn't really very good in MLS.
One of the issues I noticed from Casillas' short time on the field is that his position wasn't particularly defined. Like some of his other teammates, his positioning in the heat maps under Chelís was all over the field, and he really didn't touch the ball very much. I think as a result, it is difficult to determine where he should be playing. As a central midfielder, he seemed to have some of the skills necessary but perhaps not the physical build, at least at this point. Is he meant to be a winger? He may fit the bill there as well, but Chivas USA actually had decent wingers, at least compared to the rest of the positions, and I'm not sure if he was meant to be running along the touchline and banging in crosses.
Compared to, say, Erick Torres, I'd say Casillas isn't in his league. But compared to the other Chivas loanees, I think he was about as good as the rest of them, at least in limited minutes.
All in all, it was a pretty weird season. Chelís played him sparingly, then Chelís was canned, and after hanging around a bit longer, Casillas was shipped back to Guadalajara.
As I've alluded to above, do Chivas rate Casillas or not? He's on the first team squad for Guadalajara, but he only managed one appearance in Liga MX in the 2013 Apertura. For a team that played terribly, and finished near the bottom of the table (sound familiar?), one would think he could have gotten a run out, but I guess not.
It will be interesting to see if Casillas gets any more minutes now with Jose Luis Real in charge in Mexico, and if he doesn't, what Chivas will do with him beyond the coming season. I'd figure they may loan him out to another Liga MX side, but who knows what the organization's plans will be at that stage.
Still, I don't really expect Casillas back in MLS after his 2013 cameo.
What do you think? Leave a comment below!