A couple of signs things around Chivas USA aren’t getting better: First, the surprise news last week the Johan Cruyff, the man who was supposed to be engineering all things Chivas soccer, is gone; and second, the team still doesn’t have a coach. Granted, Chivas isn’t the only team without a boss. Still, their situation just seems more chaotic, with the team undergoing an organization reset after a deflating 2012.
More than a month after Chivas’s last competitive match, candidates are starting to emerge to replace Robin Fraser. Team blog The Goat Parade aggregates a number of reports to spotlight three main contenders.
Ramon Ramirez played for Chivas USA for three seasons (2005-07) after a long career in the Mexican league (which included two spells with Chivas Guadalajara). With 121 Mexican national team caps on his playing record, the former midfielder brings a lot of on-the-field credibility to the position. A one-time captain in Carson, Ramirez is more than a drop-in option and may actually bring some history and organizational pride to a team that has always had a transient quality to it.
That’s why Jose Luis Sanchez Sola (“Chelis”) seems like a less attractive option. Spanish-language reports claim Chelis has had contract with Jorge Vergara, but he’s also been linked with a return to Puebla, where he help restore that club to competitiveness late last decade. Over the last couple of seasons, he’s had a disappointing spell at Estudiantes Tecos and a short stint at second division side Correcaminos. While the job he did at Puebla (resurrecting a dormant team) recommends itself for Chivas USA, it’s hard to see how this would be something other than just another job to Chelis.
For Steve Sampson, however, the Chivas USA job would be a break. It would be a chance for the former MLS Cup-winner and U.S. men’s national team coach to get back in a game he’s been out of since 2006. He’s a fluent Spanish speaker, has experience in Latin America (a head coaching stint with Costa Rica), and can assumed to be hungry to prove his firing by the Galaxy in the wake of a MLS Cup-U.S. Open Cup double was premature.