It was a confusing situation this summer, when Chivas USA were linked to LDU Quito striker Felix Borja (by the Ecuadorian club itself, no less) during the open transfer window, only for another striker on the team, Luis Bolaños, to be announced as the loan signing from that team to the Goats in August.
Of course, as it turned out, CUSA got two forwards at once, as Borja and Bolaños both ended up joining the MLS side, but their paths diverged considerably once their loans were announced.
Borja reached the team in August and started the final 12 games of the season after his arrival, and got on a scoring run at the tail-end of the campaign. But his compatriot Bolaños had a much tougher run to even make it to California, with his entry visa being held up for a few weeks following his signing, and only making it to the club at the very end of August, eligible to play from September on.
And that put his standing back, arguably, since there were just two months left in the season by that point, and Borja had already locked down a starting spot up top. Though star Erick Torres missed several games in those final two months, he was of course an automatic starter when available, so that left the rest of the forwards out in the cold as far as starting positions.
As a result, Bolaños only came off the bench three times in 2014 for Chivas USA, playing twice against the Seattle Sounders and against the Columbus Crew, all in games that were lopsided losses that were entirely decided by the time he entered the field. Certainly, it was a difficult situation to enter, and he wasn't able to grab a foothold in the lineup by grabbing a much-needed goal for his new team. On the other hand, his strikerate in his career has not been very good, so it's probably not a shock that he couldn't score in very limited minutes.
And ultimately, he wasn't in the rotation at all in October, which was Chivas' second-best month of the season, with three wins in four games.
Here were Bolaños' statistics in 2014 with Chivas:
|Games Played||Games Started||Minutes||Goals||Assists||Shots||SOG||Yellow Cards||Red Cards|
|MLS Regular Season||3||0||51||0||0||2||0||0||0|
|U.S. Open Cup||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
So it looks like the Luis Bolaños experiment didn't work out in the end. And really, that's probably the best way of approaching his situation, that Chivas were trying to upgrade their striker options on the cheap in the summer transfer window, grabbed two guys from the same team on loan, and hoped at least one of them hit the ground running. It seems like plain bad luck all around that Bolaños was delayed in coming to Chivas because of his visa situation, but that put him behind and he was never able to make up for it in the final couple months.
The 29-year-old wasn't selected in the Dispersal Draft, unsurprisingly, and I doubt he'll be back in MLS next season. Of course, there's a chance a coach wants to give him a proper runout, and I'm assuming LDU Quito is open to loaning him out yet again (he's been loaned to three teams in the last three seasons during this current stint with LDU Quito).
But 55 minutes of game action isn't a lot of tape to study, and I can't say he made a major impression in the time he was out on the field. It does seem like bad luck and game circumstances contributed to it, but as we know in sports, not all moves work out, and this one wasn't a rousing success. I'm sure he'll continue his career, but it will probably be back in Latin America.
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