After years and years of rumors, the unthinkable happened in the offseason: Chivas USA signed Mexican cult legend Adolfo Bautista. Sure, he was 34 by the time he signed with the Amerigoats in January, and hadn't hardly played the year before. Was this really going to turn out to be a good move?
In the end, it wasn't. Although there was undeniably buzz about Bofo's long-awaited arrival in MLS, and he enjoyed considerable support from CUSA fans at games, he was clearly behind the pace of the game and couldn't stick with the team in a new country more than five months, and then he was on his way.
Here's the thing: Bofo still had talent, and was capable of hitting good attacking passes that nobody else on CUSA's roster could. But was he good enough to give up any defensive work, and use him as an immobile attacking player?
Those who know their MLS history know that Carlos Valderrama was very successful in that exact role, but is Bofo really in Valderrama's class? I'd argue that the combination of the increase in the speed of the game in MLS over time, in concert with Valderrama's superior skills, makes that comparison ultimately invalid.
Plus, CUSA just didn't have the ability to lock down opponents defensively with one player effectively serving as a traffic cone. Let's not forget, Chivas struggled to keep the ball out of the back of the net even with 11 players working hard to defend.
Here were Bofo's statistics with Chivas USA:
|Games Played||Games Started||Minutes||Goals||Assists||Shots||SOG||Yellow Cards||Red Cards|
|MLS Regular Season||7||1||148||0||1||3||0||1||0|
|U.S. Open Cup||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
While he was around, Bofo did get good reviews from coach Wilmer Cabrera as far as his work rate in training, in working on getting up to match fitness (to the best of his ability, anyway), and the player himself never spoke out critically about the fact that he was coming off the bench. So it looked like both sides gave it a real go, before they both decided it wasn't working out in mid-May and Bofo left the team.
One of his passes did set up a goal, as he sent the low cross to compatriot Erick Torres in Chivas USA's first game against Dallas in March, a game that was a loss for the Goats, but showed they had some life in them even when falling behind.
But the bottom line was that Bofo was too old to really make any major impact in MLS. Those who didn't understand his exploits in the Mexican first division probably wondered what all the fuss was about, but he was once a great talent who could turn a game on his own. He played in a World Cup. He won two Mexican Primera titles, including the last one that Chivas de Guadalajara has managed. He was a joy to watch in his best years, and his eccentricities only added to his appeal for many.
Since leaving Chivas USA, Bofo has continued to play, and has been featuring for Ascenso MX side Coras de Tepic. The club has an affiliation with Chivas de Guadalajara as that club's de facto reserve team, and the vast majority of its players are on loan from Chivas (including former Chivas USA goalkeeper Sergio Arias), with a handful of others on loan from other teams in the first and second divisions. Bofo is unquestionably the biggest star on Coras and is one of the only who is signed to that team outright, meaning Chivas de Guadalajara aren't looking to bring him back again, no matter how long he keeps playing.
The 2014 Apertura has been successful, however, as Coras de Tepic finished the season as the superlider (first place) in the regular table and have advanced to the playoff final, so they could win the league this season. And Bofo's been contributing, as he's made 13 appearances and scored a goal, though he isn't an automatic starter in Mexico's second division, either.
So Bofo had a cup of coffee in MLS, notched an assist, then crossed Chivas USA off his bucket list before moving on to the next team. MLS didn't get to see Bofo in his full pomp, and that's a shame -- if he had come early enough, he could have been a star in a similar way to Cubo. But instead of being the next Cubo, he was the next over-the-hill Guadalajara reject to go through the turnstile at Chivas USA, and frankly, that's a shame for everybody involved.
What do you think? Leave a comment below!