The big buzz this week was the possibility of seeing former U.S. national team defender and captain Carlos Bocanegra suit up in vertical red Chivas stripes. Verily, Chivatown was stunned to learn that the acquisition was announced so rapidly. Many didn’t want to get their hopes up too much, but Bocanegra’s arrival is a most pleasant surprise, and quite possibly the biggest signing in this club’s history. And yes, Bocanegra’s signing is the best news that Chivas USA fans have heard in a long time, as Hugo Chávez Barroso anticipated (Spanish).
Reinforcements on the way
Striker Julio Morales is still listed as active with Chivas USA and should return now that the Mexico U-20s are eliminated from the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Turkey.
Eric Avila is officially headed back to Chivas USA as the club confirmed, and will be available for Thursday's match against his former club FC Dallas.
We might also see Chivas USA Academy homegrown player and top goal scorer Caleb Calvert signed to a professional contract, but we're still awaiting official confirmation of this.
The player changes at Chivas USA came at the cost of releasing Miller Bolaños, Giovani Casillas, Laurent Courtois and Joaquín Velásquez. These moves combined with Eric Avila's invitation to train with CD Guadalajara left fans expecting the worst, equating CUSA to a farm team, calling for the ousting of the ownership and more. Some thought that Jorge Vergara was breaking the team purposely to eventually sell it. The Bocanegra signing sends a strong message that the ownership is serious about making Chivas USA more competitive. No Agudelo? No problem.
On the field
Bocanegra’s signing coincides with coach Real’s changing of a playing style, in which he emphasizes that defense comes first, last and always. The Chivas defense has gradually improved, and the offense shows signs of improvement, as identified in coverage from Soccer Newsday. Chivas USA now have 3 options at left back (Josue Soto, Walter Vílchez, Carlos Bocanegra) but they're not as solid on the right side. There's the possibility of seeing Bocanegra in central defense and Walter Vilchez as a left back, and this would leave Soto as a reliever for Vilchez or vice versa. So we may see a possible defensive line made up of Vilchez, Bocanegra, Steve Purdy and de Luna with Borja as a reliever at right back.
With the combined reinforcements, and the hiring of a more apt coach in Jose Luis Real, Chivas USA should have enough to turn the season around.
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