Chivas USA had a decent player, and possibly a depth player for the future, with Matthew Fondy in 2013.
From one perspective, it is really hard not to root for Fondy. Signed at the very end of August, Fondy had bounced around pro soccer a bit, trying out for the San Jose Earthquakes in the preseason before being cut loose, and eventually settling with the LA Blues. A decent second season there evidently caught Chivas USA's eye, and he got to make that move up to MLS.
On top of that, Fondy hustles on the field like crazy. He plays like a guy who knows he needs to impress in order to remain on the team, and the fire he shows is great. He goes after balls most players don't. He sticks his head in places that toe the line between admirable and foolhardy.
Here are Fondy's stats for 2013 with Chivas USA:
|Games Played||Games Started||Minutes||Goals||Assists||Shots||SOG||Yellow Cards||Red Cards|
|MLS Regular Season||7||1||236||0||0||12||2||0||0|
|U.S. Open Cup||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
The flipside to the argument about his drive and determination is a real concern about his ability to stick it out in MLS. He didn't notch a goal in MLS play during his stint with the Goats, and it is unclear if he was just getting his sealegs out there or if he can't really finish at a higher level. Running hard doesn't actually change the score, after all, goals do.
But I'm not going to lie, I really liked Fondy's energy out on the field in limited minutes. Add to that the fact that Chivas fell apart (again) at the end of the season, with little to no attacking energy in several of those blowout losses, and Fondy never played a full match, and you can perhaps excuse his inability to score in 2013.
It isn't certain Fondy will be back with the club next year, as there's been no public word about how long his contract was for, but he wasn't part of the group that was recently waived, and therefore I think it's quite likely he'll be back next year.
Obviously, it will be up to the player to work on his game in the offseason, which I'm sure he will do, but it will be interesting to see not only which coach Chivas USA brings in but also which players are brought in. Reinforcements are needed, no question, and Fondy could potentially fill a role as a striker off the bench, to bring in new energy and possibly change the team's dynamic on the field. Jose Luis Real played Fondy nearly every game he was eligible for, and it remains to be seen if the next coach will rate Fondy as highly.
Still, I think he can provide a useful role next year, assuming he can start scoring for the team.
No disrespect at all to Fondy, but Chivas need a combination of skill and work rate if they are to improve next season. Fondy clearly has the latter, and could have the former with some more polishing. If he is a complimentary part to a squad next year, that would probably be ideal, but if the team overall has about the same skill level as him, then it's probably going to be a very hard season once again.
What do you think? Leave a comment below!