C.D. Guadalajara

Chivas USA’s Erick “Cubo” Torres gets first El Tri start tonight

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El Cubo gets his first start for El Tri tonight.

Mexico head coach Miguel Herrera has unveiled his XI for Tuesday’s friendly against Bolivia, and Erick Torres is will start in a strike force with Javier Orozco.

Torres is in his second year on loan to Chivas USA from CD Guadalajara, and has been one of the lone bright spots for the struggling goats.

[ MORE: Zardes breaks record, but who’s the best MLS Homegrown player? ]

He’s netted 20 times in 41 appearances and, at age 21, is primed for a breakout on the international stage.

As for the rest of the lineup, cue Goal.com:

Moises Munoz will begin in goal and could captain the side, with a center back trio of Monterrey’s Hiram Mier, Tigres’ Hugo Ayala and Atlas’ Luis Venegas in front of him.

In the wingback positions, 20-year-old Pachuca player Rodolfo Pizarro will be on the right, with the more experienced Miguel Layun on the left.

Toluca’s Antonio Rios gets his first start as a Mexico player in the holding role, with Javier Aquino on the right-hand side of central midfield and Marco Fabian on the left in an attacking midfield trio.

Good for Torres, who has a legit chance to score against a Bolivia defense that has allowed multiple goals in three straight outings (albeit against Spain, Greece and Ecuador).

And so it begins: Discrimination lawsuit filed against Chivas USA

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Per reporting from Kevin Baxter at the L.A. Times, two former Chivas USA coaches filed a discrimination suite against the club in Los Angeles Superior Court on Tuesday, alleging their March firing resulted from their being “neither Mexican nor Latino.”

Daniel Calichman and Theothoros Chronopoulos, both former coaches in Chivas USA’s youth academy, were let go earlier this year, well after Jorge Vergara and his wife, Angelica Fuentes, became the team’s sole owners. In the interim:

  • employees were told those who did not speak Spanish would be fired, …
  • Chronopoulos was asked to compile lists that distinguished Mexican/Mexican-American players and coaches from one who were not, …
  • while each coach was asked to research the ethnic and national origins of academy players and parents.

Internal, formal claims of discrimination were never pursued, the coaches’ complaint alleges. On March 7, the duo were terminated, two months after they were offered a severance package in exchange for their resignations.

Chivas USA isn’t commenting, and the coaches are seeking punitive damages, but we should have known something like this was coming. Chivas USA’s sudden return to their “Mexican roots” has been as subtle and elegant as a trade that sells Juan Agudelo for $75,000.

As this observation from Baxter intimates, the turn the organization’s taken since Vergara’s buyout makes Chivas USA’s preferences clear:

In 2012, just one Chivas USA player had Mexican roots. This year no fewer than 14 were either born in Mexico or have Mexican-born parents, making them eligible to player for Chivas de Guadalajara as well as Chivas USA.

You didn’t have to go too deep into a comment thread this winter to read people asking about this scenario. Why, in this day and age, is a team allowed to instill such a discriminatory policy? Even if the policy can be seen as “positive discrimination”?

Now an L.A. Superior Court will get their say. Before more’s known about the case, it’s hasty to assume how far it will go, let alone if Chivas USA will end up paying anything to the coaches. Still, a lot of questions that were asked throughout the offseason will get some sort of legal reply.

Chivas USA up for sale? World’s richest man in talks

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This one came out of the blue.

Reports from Mexico are suggesting that Club Deportivo Guadalajara owner Jorge Vergara is negotiating the sale of Chivas USA to the world’s richest man, Carlos Slim. (pictured on the right, shaking hands with Bill Gates)

The sale would include both Chivas Gualadajara in Liga MX and Chivas USA in Major League Soccer, as well as Estadio Omnilife.

A fee of around $700 million is being mentioned for the landmark deal.

Chivas USA have already had an incredibly lively start to the current MLS season, with new manager José Luis Sanchéz Solá and his side ruffling the feathers of plenty of established MLS players, coaches and franchises.

“El Chelís” side started the season on fire, but have lost their last two games to drop back into mid-table in the Western conference. However with the news of a new owner and potential new funds on the way, Chivas USA will undoubtedly continue to make noise throughout the 2013 campaign.

At the moment, it is unclear how close the deal is to being done. Mexican newspaper, Record, believes that a deal “is closer to being sealed that falling through,” and that negotiations have been fruitful so far.

So could we see some Designated Players suiting up for Chivas USA soon? That could be on the cards, but other things should come first. For too long now, the Goats have shared the Home Depot Center with the LA Galaxy. Dwindling crowds in Carson, Calif. have seen Chivas’ image damaged in MLS and a new soccer-specific stadium would go a long way to restoring pride and prestige into the Californian franchise.

If Slim does take over, a bright future could lie ahead for Chivas USA’s band of loyal supporters. Some of Mexico’s top talent could be attracted to MLS and Chivas USA, as Slim already has a stake in Liga MX sides Pachuca, Leon and Estudiantes Tecos. But then again, who knows? Vergara was instrumental in setting up the franchise and obviously holds the club close to his heart.

But with both Chivas sides struggling over the last few seasons, now seems like a good time to sell up and let someone else lead the march of the Goats.

Reports have Sampson, Ramirez among candidates for Chivas USA job

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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.