With the report out today that Chivas USA is set to fire head coach Robin Fraser at the end of the season and appoint Efraín Flores to that position, it is clear that the "100% Vergara era" is underway. Obviously, we will be seeing and hearing more on this story (if it is true, which seems to be the case, according to public reports and my sources) in the coming days and weeks, but in the meantime, there's still a game left to be played. How's that FC Dallas game Sunday going to go?
I think the conventional wisdom is that it makes more sense to keep a coach until the end of the season, if there isn't enough time left to really turn things around. Since Fraser's teams have limped through the finish the past two years, his job didn't look to be in complete jeopardy until the announcement of Jorge Vergara and Angelica Fuentes' purchase of the remaining 50 percent of the club in mid-September, by which time Chivas were already faltering. So although the season has ended badly, there's not much reason to drop Fraser during the season in the final few months.
But it puts the coach in a terrible position to leak word of his firing and his successor's name when he still has work to do. With the presumption that Fraser is a lame duck coach, what does that mean for Sunday's game?
Obviously, it could go in a number of directions. The players could try to "win one for the Gipper" and give their coach something positive to go out on - that would be a great way to end the Fraser era for the fans, even if it comes with an implicit "F--- You!" by the outgoing coach.
The players may also have the motivation to impress Jose Luis Real and Flores, and so may give it a little extra. Of course, effort hasn't been lacking for this team, but rather technical skills and tactical abilities, so it is unclear if trying harder will make a major difference.
Other options could be that everybody's limps their way through the last game, and Dallas, who also have nothing to play for in the season finale, will be able to roll by six or seven goals. Obviously Chivas played Dallas well in their last match, but anybody who watches this team regularly is nodding their heads to this possibility, right?
For me, it will be interesting to see who Fraser plays against Dallas. Will he go with the largely elderly lineup like the one that capitulated to a poor Colorado Rapids team last weekend? Will he go with what he thinks is his absolute number one lineup? Will he play the young guys, or the guys who didn't really get much time this season? It probably won't be very important to the result, but it will be interesting to see how he approaches this game.
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