For today's Chivas USA season review, we turn to midfielder Simon Elliott. The veteran Kiwi joined Chivas in 2011 from the A-League's Wellington Phoenix, although he had a long career previously in MLS, playing for the San Jose Earthquakes, the LA Galaxy, and Columbus Crew. It was pretty clear that Elliott was brought to Chivas by Robin Fraser to provide experience to a very young team. At 37, Elliott was the oldest outfield player for the Goats in 2011, but his impact was quite significant.
Elliott played in 24 matches in 2011 (21 starts), and was a fixture as a holding midfielder for much of the season. Although he was probably projected to be the backup defensive midfielder coming into the season, the persistent injury problems for Paulo Nagamura pushed Elliott to the starting spot. And although the captain's armband passed around the team during the season, Elliott served as the captain for a stretch through the middle of the season. Can't say there's a better endorsement than that for a player's importance to a team.
For now, Elliott's future is in doubt. Chivas left him unprotected for the Expansion Draft, but he was of course not selected by the Montreal Impact because Zarek Valentin was taken. He's currently out of contract, and was not selected by any club in the recent re-entry draft. Again, at 37, he's probably not a hot commodity, although he might have a season or so left in him. Will it be with Chivas?
I think there's a chance Elliott could be signed to another one-year contract, but my inclination is that the team will be looking for younger players in the position. I think it is time to put Ben Zemanski in as the main holding midfielder for Chivas. He's young, but he's gotten a lot of experience in his first two seasons, and I think he's capable of making the jump to a fixture in the lineup as defensive midfielder. If that's the case, Elliott could come back, but I would hope he would play fewer minutes in 2012 as the backup. He made $75,000 in base salary for Chivas in 2011, which isn't that expensive, but if he did return, I would assume he would get a lower offer from the front office. I'm not against him returning, and I appreciate his contributions last season, but I think Chivas can probably move on in 2012.
What do you think? Leave a comment below!