Chivas USA made official several personnel moves Sunday, cutting ties with Miller Bolanos, Laurent Courtois, Joaquin Velazquez and Giovani Casillas.
Bolaños, who had been on loan from Ecuador's LDU Quito since the start of the 2012 season, had his option declined by the Goats. Whether it was an option to continue the loan or to buy him outright is unclear, but the midfielder/forward had been out of favor nearly all season, which is quite a shame considering he led the team in scoring during the preseason and was probably Chivas' best attacking player in 2012. Tabbed to make a breakout in MLS in 2013, he instead made only five appearances in the league, playing just 239 minutes, and scoring no goals. He did draw the penalty in the U.S Open Cup match against the LA Blues that Dan Kennedy converted, but he is back in Ecuador after having joined Emelec, as we reported last week.
Courtois announced his departure late Saturday before the club could, but according to the team's press release, his option was declined. Presumably, this means they did not want to guarantee his semi-guaranteed contract for the whole season, as we discussed yesterday. Courtois indicated he is not ready to retire, so could he find another team this year?
The departure of Velazquez is both surprising and not surprising in the least. Though he was a consistent starter, featuring in 12 of the first 13 league games of the season, he literally came out of an extended retirement as a 37-year-old to play for Chivas. In fact, he was brought on at the behest of Chelís, under whom he had been working as an assistant coach in Mexico, and with Chelís being shown the door, it appears the new regime did not favor Velazquez. Unlike his fellow Chelís "guy," Walter Vilchez, who has regained the starting spot, it looks like Velazquez's days with the Goats were numbered. Although he could make timely recoveries at times, he generally struggled on the backline and it appears his playing days may finally be behind him.
Finally, in news that surprises nobody, Casillas' loan to Chivas USA has been terminated, and he'll be staying with Chivas de Guadalajara. After training with his parent club and returning to Guadalajara with them to continue preseason training, the writing was on the wall for the 19-year-old in MLS. To be fair, he didn't actually play a lot for the Goats, just five league appearances for 182 minutes total, and one goal. I'm not sure if Chelís just refused to play him, if he wasn't performing well in training, or what, but he's out.
So, with those moves, and with no official word on the players coming in at the transfer window, Chivas USA now have 24 players officially on the roster. Between international absences and Eric Avila on trial at Guadalajara, the number of players present on the squad is 21. If we take away Daniel Antunez (torn ACL) and Tim Melia (long-term back injury, status uncertain), that leaves Chivas with 19 players available at the moment.
The first possible game any new players would be eligible for is July 12. The Goats have two games in the meantime, Thursday in Texas against FC Dallas, and Sunday in Quebec against Montreal Impact. Given the other injuries present on the team, as well as Tristan Bowen's yellow card suspension for the next game, and Chivas will almost certainly have a short bench.
Of course, there could be more departures, if the team just didn't get around to announcing them yet, but with contracts being guaranteed from July 1, and with the squad size reaching critical lows, hopefully there will be more (quality) additions than subtractions.
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