Matthew Fondy came into the 2014 MLS season as one of the few forwards with competitive experience for Chivas USA -- a low bar, really, as he only had seven appearances after joining late in 2013.
Still, Fondy's workrate really impressed CUSA fans, as he was a player who hustled late in a horrible season when it looked like nearly everyone else was going through the motions. And that meant something, anyway.
But 2014 was a different story for Fondy. He still worked hard, yes, but the former LA Blues man couldn't break through on the depth chart, remaining behind Erick Torres, which isn't surprising, but not surpassing newcomers Luke Moore and Adolfo Bautista, and with even a rookie midfielder, Thomas McNamara, getting the start up top with Cubo the first couple games of the season, it looked like minutes would be hard to come by for Fondy.
So it turned out to be, as he made just one competitive appearance for the Goats this season, a stint off the bench in the second game of the season, a 1-1 draw for 10-man Chivas against the Vancouver Whitecaps. His 19 minutes didn't really do a lot to make his second season with CUSA memorable, and he lingered on the squad several more months, without getting any action.
Ultimately, he was waived in late June, something that appeared to be inevitable but was still difficult among some corners of the CUSA fanbase. While the results were good for a time for the team, there was still discontent with Cabrera's decision not to play Fondy more, especially with the rest of the team struggling to score besides Torres.
Here were Fondy's statistics with Chivas USA for 2014:
|Games Played||Games Started||Minutes||Goals||Assists||Shots||SOG||Yellow Cards||Red Cards|
|MLS Regular Season||1||0||19||0||0||1||0||0||0|
|U.S. Open Cup||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
After being cut loose by Chivas, Fondy found a new team, signing with the Chicago Fire a little over a week later, which was a promising sign. But he also didn't see a great deal of time with the Fire, notching eight appearances, all off the bench, in league play, for a grand total of 107 minutes of action. Unfortunately, he didn't score for them, either, and they announced on Tuesday that they did not pick up his contract option for 2015.
And that's likely what ultimately did Fondy in. Yes, he worked hard, but he was never able to score in MLS. You can argue that it's hard to score when coming off the bench for drips and drabs of minutes, but frankly, that was Fondy's role. He wasn't able to score as a sub, and then he wasn't able to parlay that into starts and really gain a foothold on an MLS team. And that spelled the end of his tenure at two teams this season.
There's obviously a chance another MLS team could come in for him this offseason, but I think he's likely to get some interest at the NASL or USL PRO levels, especially with both leagues expanding (USL PRO by a lot) next year. Maybe he can claw his way up the ladder once again, or maybe MLS just isn't his level. Either way, Fondy's level with Chivas USA will be as a fan favorite, but with no indelible moment in 2014 to really distinguish his season with the Goats.
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