It started so well, but it was all downhill from there.
He came off the bench in a snowy Dick's Sporting Goods Park that day, with the Goats just having knotted up the score 1-1, and changed the game, hitting Colorado twice on the counter and scoring a brace to give Chivas the 3-1 win, their first in nine games and just their second of the season.
It looked like the veteran Honduran winger was going to be a major contributor, but timing killed whatever momentum could have come from that sparkling debut. He was called up to Honduras' National Team for the 2014 World Cup, leaving immediately after the game and not coming back until July, and certainly having a player representing Chivas USA in Brazil was exciting (of course, Chavez was joined by late selection Oswaldo Minda for Ecuador, with the two facing off in a group stage game between Honduras and Ecuador).
But Honduras had a disappointing World Cup, even if they were the underdogs of their group, and Chavez mostly came off the bench and was ineffectual for his country. He then returned to Chivas, and was more or less ineffectual for his club, too.
Here were Chavez's statistics with Chivas in 2014:
|Games Played||Games Started||Minutes||Goals||Assists||Shots||SOG||Yellow Cards||Red Cards|
|MLS Regular Season||14||8||703||2||0||9||2||2||1|
|U.S. Open Cup||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
I think a valid question to ask is whether Chavez was simply emotionally and physically worn out from participating in the World Cup. It was unquestionably a factor among some of the U.S. Men's National Team MLS stars like Michael Bradley and Matt Besler, who came back shells of themselves for the remainder of the 2014 MLS season.
A case could be made, perhaps, that Chavez, having struggled for playing time and seeing his team do poorly in Brazil, also felt the fatigue and just couldn't play up to earlier levels.
But the fact is that he never scored again after his debut, and chipped in zero assists with the Goats, which is pretty bad for a winger (though it should be noted that Chavez has never been a prolific assist man, with his 2012 campaign with the San Jose Earthquakes being an aberration across his career).
Wilmer Cabrera mixed up Chavez's time between starts and sub appearances, and beyond perhaps two matches where he showed some real verve and dribbled at defenders with his trademark speed, he just wasn't the player he had been even a couple years ago.
Chavez is 31, and I think his speed is starting to go, which is obviously a problem if one of the main attributes to his game is his pace. He could possibly find a way to adjust his game, pick his spots better and try to evolve. Or, he could possibly go to a league where speed just isn't as necessary, where defenders may not be at the same level, and find the sledding easier.
I think it would have been nice had the Chavez move worked out, of course, but if CUSA still existed, I wouldn't look to bring him back next season. 33 minutes of delight simply can't outweigh 670 minutes of meh. And getting sent off in his final performance, for kicking a ball at the assistant referee? Come on now. He's a guy who's been around long enough to know not to pull stuff like that, and he did it anyway.
Chavez was not selected in the Dispersal Draft, and will be eligible for the Re-Entry Draft, which takes place this week and next. I think there's a chance he'll get taken in the second phase, but by no means a guarantee. Most likely, if he does come back to MLS next season, he'll be squad depth, and I think there's a pretty good chance he could go to a Central American club for 2015. Of course, if the World Cup left him drained, he might end up bouncing back next year. Who knows.
In the end, I view the trade for Chavez in much the same way I view the trade for defender Jhon Kennedy Hurtado later in the season: a decent risk that didn't work out in the end. It's the nature of the sport and it happens. But I'm not sure where that leaves Marvin Chavez moving forward.
What do you think? Leave a comment below!