Now that the season is over, it is time to look back on the individuals who contributed to Chivas USA in 2011. Starting today, we'll be looking back at all of the players who saw time with the first time this season. In order to adequately review each player, we'll look at them individually, and go in reverse order by number of minutes played this season.
The first player in the series is one who is not currently with the team and will likely not be returning to Chivas USA. Tristan Bowen saw a total of 60 minutes with Chivas USA this season, over three substitute appearances. Since he has been removed from the MLS listing of players, I cannot remember all three appearances off the top of my head, although I know he played against the Colorado Rapids in the second game of the season before going out for a sustained period with an ankle injury.With the ankle injury, Bowen never really got going at Chivas. He was acquired in a trade in the offseason with the Galaxy, where he was their first homegrown signing. He saw limited action with the Galaxy first team prior to this season, but he seemed like a promising young talent. Certainly, Chivas thought he might produce for a team going through a major transition period with the arrival of coach Robin Fraser.
But in part because of the injury, and in part because Chivas had several forwards ahead of him on the depth chart from the first day of the season (Alejandro Moreno, Justin Braun, and arguably fellow newcomer Marcos Mondaini) Bowen was buried in the pecking order and even once he was healthy, never had much chance for really breaking through this year. With only 60 minutes, two shots, and no goals for his efforts with the Goats, it is unclear if he asked to leave the club or if Chivas capitalized on his hype. I would be inclined to believe Bowen asked to leave, but that is pure speculation on my part.
In the end, Bowen was loaned out to Belgian second division side KSV Roeselare at the end of August. Since any professional soccer from Belgium is hard to watch, let alone second division soccer, needless to say I haven't been able to keep up very well on Bowen's new club. But I have looked up his statistics so far. He's made three starts in five appearances, in the league and domestic cup. He has not scored yet, but based on recent results, the club looks like it is doing pretty well at the moment, so hopefully Bowen can chip in soon.
I wrote when the deal was confirmed that I was concerned about this move, because the team comprises a mix of professionals and amateurs. I still think it may not make the best situation for a young player who will surely look to move to a stronger league in the future, but if the team is performing well in the Belgian second division, then maybe they can make their way to the first division in the near future?
I also believe that when this loan period is up, Bowen will either be sold to Roeselare or to another club. I doubt he will return to Chivas any time soon. That said, let's hope he can live up to the potential so many believe he has. At 20, he is still young and has time to develop as a professional. He's getting playing time, so let's see him really settle in somewhere and blossom as a player.