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Tactical Talk: Transforming midfield has not transformed Chivas USA's prospects

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They continue to retool the roster, but the changes haven't yet led to improved results.

Sturgis: Part of the new-look CUSA midfield.
Sturgis: Part of the new-look CUSA midfield.
Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

It was the same as usual.

Chivas USA showed their usual strengths and weaknesses you all know well in the 1-0 loss against the New England Revolution on Saturday. The Rojiblancos produced a nice effort, but a lack of clinical finishing hurt them at the end, leading to another disappointing loss."In the end it was just separated by that little bit of quality," Chivas USA assistant coach Paul Caffrey told reporters after the game.

The problem here is that it became cyclical. CUSA are organized defensively but their troubled offense isn't able to produce goals. Then, soon or later, a defensive mistake or a brilliant effort by the opponents happens within the game. The Goats go down and are unable to equalize. When you are not suited to score, the maximum result you can get out from a game is 0-0.

The problem is that Chivas USA are a one-man offense. They rely and count just on Erick "Cubo" Torres to get the ball into the net. Torres has scored 14 goals this year and the team has usually produced results when he netted a goal. Since he hit a scoreless stretch, Chivas USA weren't capable to supplant him. Wilmer Cabrera knows that Torres is his finisher but as he hasn't scored lately, the Goats' manager needs to get out some goalscoring potential from his offensive midfielders. Needless to say, that hasn't happened yet.

The departure of Mauro Rosales doesn't help although admittedly, he wasn't always reliable with his assists. Right now, Chivas USA are loaded with defensive midfielders such as Oswaldo Minda, Nathan Sturgis, Agustin Pelletieri and, now, Nigel Reo-Coker, but are short in effective scoring threats. They have experimented with a transformation over the course of the season: while Cabrera's side was full of fine passers and dribblers at the start of this season, they are now a more counterattacking kind of team.

But they remain short up front with no real alternatives to Torres. The Goats suffer from a lack of a volume of offensive players suited to make runs in behind the defense. So, when the opponents find the way to nullify Torres, as it happened against New England once again, CUSA misfire. Torres isn't a classic up front target man although he's able to hold up the ball and involve midfielders in the play. The problem is Cabrera needs someone capable to provide a reliable scoring threat inside the penalty box to pair him alongside the Mexican-born forward. Fans and media hope that newcomer Felix Borja, the Ecuadorian forward brought on from Ecuador's First Division side Liga Deportiva Universitaria de Quito, will explode. Although his vitals seem lightweight at 5'10' for 156 lbs, Borja arrived at StubHub Center with the hype to become the needed supporting cast member  to Torres. In the first couple of appearances he made, Borja looked good enough to create space for Torres, who could enjoy much more positional freedom by having Borja occupying the centre-forward spot.

Should this partnership work, CUSA could face a good final of this campaign. Otherwise, their results will remain highly predictable, and that's not promising for Chivas USA fans.

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