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Tactical Talk: No surprise that Bofo is coming along slowly with Chivas USA

Some players slot in seamlessly to new teams, but those players haven't usually been away from the game as long as Bofo.

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Chivas USA's 1-1 draw against the Portland Timbers was a good point. But for one Goat forward it was also forgettable as he did not see playing time.

As head coach Wilmer Cabrera pointed out, attacking forward Adolfo Bautista is still unready to play 90 minutes. Bautista didn't play regularly the past two seasons so concerns about his fitness are quite normal. But, in effect, Bofo is the biggest mystery surrounding Chivas's start of the season. Bautista's impact was minimal. He's not contributing either in terms of goal or being a goal threat.

New signings usually have to adapt and it's hard for a newcomer to make an immediately effective impact with a new team. There are some exceptions: Belgian Eden Hazard had an immediate impact at Chelsea. But for one to succeed others fail. There are a lot of examples of this: Alexis Sanchez needed of a couple of terms to make an impact at Barcelona. Dennis Bergkamp initially struggled to adapt into then manager Bruce Rioch's schemes. Marouane Fellaini at Manchester United and Mesut Ozil at Arsenal this season are still learning the ropes.

Both Cabrera and Chivas USA fans have needed patience. Bofo's arrival in town fueled expectations of an immediate impact. But his transition to MLS has been slow. He was left out in this first part of this term and it was an unquestionable decision considering his stats. He has not attempted a shot since his debut against the Chicago Fire. He didn't score yet. This is a criticism valid throughout his career as he didn't find the net a lot during latest years and his goalless streaks were very long.

In terms of tactical aspects of the game the new arrivals require time adjusting. At club level, players have weeks to learn moves and tactics but it doesn't mean they are going to do it soon. Take a look to Spaniard Cesc Fabregas as example. He arrived at Barcelona as an attacking midfielder. With no spaces for this role at Nou Camp, Fabregas was pushed higher up on the pitch, playing as a false nine up front. Now, new manager Tata Martino opted to deploy him back in midfield as an interior. So, Fabregas had to adjust to a midfield role.

Something similar has happened with the former Guadalajara attacking forward. Cabrera has his tactics and Bautista has to go back to school to adapt. Cabrera is still learning the best way to deploy him. Bautista has been closely associated with Chivas USA during José Luis Real's regime but a loan or signing didn't materialize as he has been told that the Goats had no plans to line up an attacking forward.

But until Cabrera, Chivas USA didn't play with a No. 10. Although a switch to a 4-2-3-1 or 4-4-1-1 formation is an option, Cabrera could like to stay faithful to the 4-4-2 and 4-1-4-1 he utilized during this first games of this term. So Cabrera could line up Bautista as second striker pairing him to Erick Torres or he could try to utilize him wide out. He could form a good pair with Cubo, with Bofo playing through-balls and Torres running in behind the defence. We have already seen of this with Bofo Bautista linking well with Torres during the New York Red Bulls game. Those seem to be the positions where Bautista could play at the moment. Obviously, making him a wide man will mean Bautista will have to sacrifice his instincts. There, he would be not free to do whatever he wants. Otherwise, he could still be looked just as a replacement for Torres.

All in all, it seems there are still questions about Bofo's spot on this team, and it looks like Cabrera will continue to see where he can best use the veteran.

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